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Alexander Henry's 
Travels and Adventures 

Alexander Henry's 
Travels and Adventures 







Alexander Henry's 
Travels and Adventures 

in the Years 1760-1776 





2afef jibe press, Cfcica0o 


' preface 

TT^VROM time to time the preface to these 
H volumes has taken on the form of an 
intimate talk between the publishers 
and the reader about the ideals and the or- 
ganization of The Lakeside Press. Apropos 
of the extended strike for shortening an 
already short work week which has recently 
disrupted the printing industry throughout the 
country, a statement of its labor policy may 
not be amiss at this time. 

It is the ambition of the publishers that 
The Lakeside Press shall become a peculiar 
institution in the printing industry; one in 
which its work shall be carried on in the spirit 
of the highest traditions of the art and, by 
a contented and permanent organization of 
executives and workmen. 

The Lakeside Press is neither a union nor 
an open shop; it is honestly non-union. The 
management of a great industry occupies the 
position of a trustee both to the public and 
to its employees. The public should receive 
its commodities uninterruptedly and at a 
price as low as is consistent with fair wages, 
good working conditions, and reasonable profit. 
The employees should be guaranteed as con- 
tinuous employment as possible, an opportu- 

' preface 

nity to earn high wages in return for increased 
production, and protection in their rights as 
American citizens. The officers of The Lake- 
side Press believe that this trusteeship can 
only be fulfilled when the relations between 
the management and the employees are 
unhampered by the arbitrary dictation of 
union officials who have no direct interest in 
the welfare either of the establishment or its 

Whatever may have been the necessities in 
the past for labor unions as a protection against 
abuse, today the demand of modern industry 
for contented, smooth-working organizations, 
and the revelation through factory accounting 
that high skill at high wages means lower 
unit costs, are labor's greatest protection. 
Labor unions to a great extent have become 
the tools of ambitious leaders in labor union 
politics and are kept in existence only for 
their personal aggrandizement and profit, 
and by the apathy and weakness of the em- 
ployers. Most unions lay an unfair burden 
on the public, stifle advancement in the art 
of increasing production and lowering costs, 
and are a millstone around the necks of the 
workmen themselves. 

Of the two thousand odd employees of 
The Lakeside Press, not one is a member of 
any labor organization, and in spite of the 
repeated attempts of the labor unions to en- 
tice away its employees, the organization has 

been successfully maintained on this basis for 
sixteen years, through the application of the 
principle of fair play, and the fact that, un- 
trammeled with union restrictions, the men 
have been able to earn more money than 
elsewhere. During the war, when labor was 
scarce, the employees did not leave for other 
jobs; of the 205 men and boys who went to 
war, four were killed and 196 came back to 
the plant as "home," and during the many 
strikes that have disturbed the printing in- 
dustry in Chicago during the last sixteen years, 
not one man has gone out on strike. These 
facts seem satisfactory evidence that The 
Lakeside Press is "a good place to work." 

The Apprenticeship School, the Taylor 
system of scientific management and weekly 
bonuses for increased efficiency, and the quick 
settlement of all differences and grievances 
by frank discussion between the officers and 
the employees are all contrary to union rules, 
but are the very foundations upon which the 
organization has been built up. 

Should the national unions in the printing 
industry accept the principle of the open shop 
and recognize the right of every man to work 
regardless of his union affiliations, comfort- 
ably and without molestation, an open shop 
would be practical and the only one that 
would be fair. But the national unions do not 
recognize the open shop except under com- 
pulsion and accept it only as a temporary 

' preface 

truce in a perpetual warfare. The experience 
of the last year has proven that the open shops 
of the country had been secretly organized 
and their production interrupted by the general 
strike, while the shops that had been main- 
tained on the non-union basis were undis- 
turbed. Only- fair dealing can successfully 
maintain a non-union shop, and the manage- 
ment of The Lakeside Press, realizing their 
trusteeship to the public and to their em- 
ployees, have deliberately assumed the burden 
of so treating their employees that they 
neither need nor desire the interference of 
labor unions; 

This year we have taken for the subject 
matter of the volume an early narrative of 
travel centering around Mackinaw. Henry was 
the first Englishman to venture out into the 
wilderness after the French had been deposed 
from its sovereignty. Outside of its interest 
as a narrative of pure exploration, its chief 
interest lies in the fact that the early history 
of Chicago is so intimately connected with 
that of Mackinaw. Mackinaw for a century 
was the center of the fur trade of the Great 
Northwest, and until the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, all approach to Chicago 
was through that trading center. 

Mr. Quaife has again consented to act as 
editor and to prepare the historical intro- 

Christmas, 1921. 





1 . Embarking upon the Fur Trade ... 3 

2. The Voyage to Mackinac 15 

3. Arrival at Mackinac 29 

4. Reception at Mackinac ..... 39 

5. The Winter at Mackinac 54 

6. A Visit to SaultSte. Marie 59 

7. Destruction of the Fort and Return to 
Mackinac 63 

8. The Gathering Storm 72 

9. A Ball Game and a Massacre ... 78 

10. First Days of Captivity 86 

11. The Journey to Beaver Island ... 95 

12. Rescued by Wawatam 101 

13. The Adventure of the Bones . . . .107 

14. The Arts of the Medicine Men . . . 113 

15. Removal to the Au Sable 123 

1 6. Lost in the Wilderness 130 

17. A Bear Hunt . . . . . . . . 137 

18. Death of a Child . ... . . . "143 




19. Return to Mackinac 147 

20. Flight to the Sault 153 

21. Invoking the Great Turtle ....... 161 

22. Voyage to Fort Niagara 167 

23. The Return to Mackinac 174 


NORTHWEST, 1765-76 . . . .181 

1. Journey to Chequamegon 183 

2. The Winter at Chequamegon . . .189 

3. Famine at the Sault 198 

4. Legends of Nanibojou 203 

5. A Tempestuous Voyage 209 

6. The Island of Yellow Sands .... 215 

7. Operations of the Copper Company . . 219 

8. Journey to Lake Winnipeg . . . . 227 

9. From Lake Winnipeg to Beaver Lake . 243 

10. From Beaver Lake to the Prairies . . 257 

11. A Journey on the Plains 268 

12. Hospitality of the Assiniboin .... 275 

13. Customs of the Red Men 284 

14. The Return to Fort des Prairies . . . 298 

15. Journey to Montreal 305 

INDEX 321 

Historical Introduction 



IT is the year of our Lord, 1760. Under the 
masterful leadership of William Pitt, the 
British Empire is just bringing to a trium- 
phant conclusion the terrible Seven Years' 
War which for long has deluged a world with 
blood. From a somewhat narrower point of 
view this war has been but another round in 
England's second Hundred- Year Duel with 
France for the political dominance of the earth. 
For almost two hundred years the rival mother 
nations have been fostering in America a New 
France and a New England. Stretched along 
the Atlantic coastal plain from Maine to 
Georgia is the thin line of colonies which go to 
compose the latter. Encircling these, with one 
center of settlement on the lower St. Lawrence 
and the other at the mouth of the Mississippi, 
two thousand miles away, are the imperial 
possessions of New France. Although her 
population is but a handful, and that of the 
English colonies but a few hundred thousand, 
around and between which stretches the in- 
terminable wilderness sparsely inhabited by 
scattered tribes of savages, long and repeat- 
edly have the two countries quarreled over the 
issue as to which shall control and develop that 



The Seven Years' War was the decisive 
round in this long struggle for the domination 
of the continent. It began in the backwoods of 
America with a contest for the possession of 
the Ohio Valley. It was ended when in the 
autumn of 1759 a combined land and sea force of 
twenty-seven thousand Englishmen conquered 
the citadel of Quebec. The capture of Quebec 
is one of the decisive struggles of military 
history. It won for General Wolfe an early 
grave and an immortal fame; it ended for all 
time the dream of a greater France, while it 
gave the future of North America into the 
keeping of the Anglo-Saxon; it foreshadowed 
the development of the British Empire on its 
modern basis, and the birth of the United 
States as an independent nation. 

In the province of New Jersey in 1739 was 
born a youth since known to fame by the name 
of Alexander Henry. Of the first twenty years 
of his life practically nothing is known. Of the 
succeeding sixteen years, we have his own 
record in the narrative which follows. The 
slogan of recent years "Trade follows the 
Flag" finds ready exemplification in the career 
of Henry. When, in the summer of 1760, 
General Amherst's army invaded Canada for 
the purpose of reducing Montreal and thus 
ending the war, Henry attached himself to the 
expedition in a commercial capacity, and at 
this point begins his narration of "travels and 
adventures." Disaster promptly overtook him, 


his boats being wrecked and all his merchan- 
dise lost in the rapids of the St. Lawrence. 
Not long after, he encountered by chance a 
Frenchman who had spent long years in the 
Indian country as a trader; and the stories 
he told of the wealth to be won in the fur 
trade fired Henry with the determination to 
proceed to Mackinac and from this center 
begin the prosecution of this hazardous calling. 

Doubly hazardous was it at the time Henry 
proposed going into the Northwest. Although 
New France had fallen, the Indian tribes had 
not been conquered, and they viewed with 
sullen hostility the approach of the represen- 
tatives of the nation which had vanquished 
their French "Father." Under the inspiration 
and leadership of Pontiac, one of the greatest 
figures in the history of the Indian race, they 
rose against the English, and all along the 
far-flung western frontier the scalping-knife 
gleamed and the tomahawk descended. Thus 
Henry, at Mackinac, found himself in the midst 
of the conflict, and his story of what befell him 
has been incorporated almost word for word by 
the master historian, Parkman, in his narra- 
tive of the Great Conspiracy. 

The war ruined Henry but it did not break 
his dauntless spirit or satiate his appetite for 
adventure. Upon its conclusion, therefore, we 
find him embarking upon the fur trade anew; 
pioneering for copper in the Lake Superior 
region, whence in a later century almost untold 



wealth in mineral was to be drawn; resuming 
again the fur trade, in pursuit of which he was 
drawn to the utmost verge of the region 
known to white men. The recital of these years 
on Lake Superior and in the far Northwest 
occupies the second part of our volume; it 
constitutes a distinct narrative from that con- 
tained in Part One, and the two might well 
have appeared as separate volumes. But as 
Henry himself put them together in his life- 
time, so we reproduce them here, in a single 
book of travel and adventure. 

At the period when his narrative concludes, 
Henry was a man of but thirty-seven. During 
his years in the wilderness the quarrel between 
the English colonies and the Mother Country 
had arisen and progressed to its culmination at 
Philadelphia, on the very day that Henry 
set out upon his return to civilization, in the 
Declaration of Independence and the birth 
of the United States. From this succession 
of events Henry had been as far removed as 
though upon another planet. Reaching Mont- 
real in the summer of 1776, he set out that 
same year for England; crossing to France, he 
was presented at court, and to the day of his 
death almost half a century later he retained 
a vivid recollection of the attention bestowed 
upon him by the beautiful and unfortunate 
queen, Marie Antoinette. 

Thenceforth Montreal was Henry's home, 
although he made two more voyages to Europe 


and paid one or more visits to the Indian 
country. From Montreal he prosecuted for 
some years the fur trade, conducting, mean- 
while, the business of a local merchant. He 
remained one of the substantial citizens of the 
place until his death in April, 1824. His 
eldest son, William, was long prominent in the 
Canadian fur trade; his second son, Charles, 
was slain by natives on the Liard River of 
northwestern Canada, while thus engaged; 
and a nephew, likewise named Alexander 
Henry, perished in the Columbia River, having 
left behind a set of journals, which, unpub- 
lished for almost a century, are among the 
most valuable records of the time and place to 
which they belong. 

With this brief view of our author's career 
taken, it remains to appraise his book. For 
the record of the massacre at Mackinac and 
its attendant events, Henry's work is our 
only detailed narration. For the period of 
northwestern trade and exploration described 
in Part Two, Henry is an early and valuable, 
although not unique, authority. Occupying 
such a position in our historical literature, it 
is obviously a matter of importance to deter- 
mine what measure of credence may prop- 
erly be accorded his narrative. 

Henry himself offers perhaps the best method 

of approach to this problem. In his preface 

he informs us that " the details [of his fur- 

trade career] from time to time committed to 



paper, form the subject matter of the present 
volume." It is obvious, -therefore, that the 
author did not keep a day-by-day journal of 
events; and that his narrative as it comes to us 
is the fruit of his recollections set down at 
different tunes during the period of his life 
subsequent to the conclusion of the travels and 
adventures which are so vividly described by 
hmi. A record thus produced may possess 
great value, but to all lawyers and all histo- 
rians it is a commonplace that this value, 
however great it may be, will be different in 
quality from that attaching to a day-by-day 
record of events. The human memory is at 
best a fallible instrument. Men in later years 
frequently recall events which never took place; 
as frequently they transform, in memory, 
the true character and circumstances attend- 
ant upon the occurrence of events; and it is 
sometimes even possible for an observer to 
trace the progressive steps in the transfor- 

With these considerations in mind, we will 
not expect to find in Henry's story that ac- 
curacy of detail which characterizes the jour- 
nal of contemporary events. It will not be 
strange to find that distances are sometimes 
misstated, 1 that dates given are frequently 
incorrect, and that the story is subject to 

1 An additional reason for this is, of course, the fact 
that Henry is commonly giving estimates made by eye, 



correction in various other respects. But the 
more important consideration, in appraising 
the narrative, pertains to quite another ques- 
tion; did Henry desire to set down a truthful 
record; and was he capable, in general, of 
doing so ? 

On this point two opinions have been ad- 
vanced. In general, Henry's bona fides has 
been accepted by scholars without qualifica- 
tion, following the lead of Parkman. More 
recently, however, Henry Bedford- Jones, in a 
booklet published at Santa Barbara, has de- 
livered a sweeping attack upon Henry. 2 The 
spirit of the accusation is perhaps sufficiently 
indicated in the following lines of verse which 
preface the booklet: 

Garrulous old trader, sitting with a jorum 
Close beside your elbow, and tobacco bio wing free, 
fc Easy 'tis to picture you, spinning to a quorum 
Of pop-eyed New York burghers your tales of 

How you must have made them palpitate and 

As you warmed up to your narrative of blood 

and massacree! 
How you must have chortled as you saw 'em shake 

and quiver 

rather than the precise determinations which result 
from scientific surveys. 

2 The myth Wawatam or Alexander Henry Refuted, 
Being an Exposure of certain Fictions Hitherto Unsus- 
pected of the Public; with which are also found some 
remarks upon the famous old Fort Michilimackinac * * * 
(Santa Barbara, 1917.) 



To your tales of shocking escapades by trail and 

lake and river 
I'm afraid you were a liar, but you knew how to 

Your auditors of Gotham from the shackles of 

ennui! v 

In support of this charge of willful mendacity 
against Henry, the writer calls attention to 
j certain erroneous statements of detail, a form 
of criticism to which Henry's narrative is 
clearly vulnerable; but so carelessly have the 
accusations been drawn that it would be easy 
to retort upon the critic the very charge he 
brings against Henry. 3 Not to go farther 
afield, the sole factual basis for the verse pic- 
turing the "garrulous old trader" engaged in 
spinning his yarns for the entertainment of 
an audience of "pop-eyed New York burghers" 
is the single circumstance .that his book was 
published by a New York printer. There is 
no hint in it or elsewhere to the present 
writer's knowledge that Henry ever lived in 
New York, or indeed that he ever saw that 

3 Thus, Henry's account (in Part One, chap. VII) 
of his trip from Mackinac to the Sop is described as 
"ludicrously inaccurate; and from Point Detour, find- 
ing the lake open, our hero pushes on and sends back 
aid but fails to say how he crossed the open straits." 
But on turning to Henry's account we find that after 
the party reached Point Detour a delay of more than a 
week ensued, as to part of which it is expressly stated 
that the weather was "exceedingly cold." Only a hyper- 
critic could require further explanation than this as to 
how Henry crossed the "open straits." 

Details aside, the most important accusa- 
tion made by Mr. Jones is that the entire story 
of Henry's relations with Wawatam and Chief 
Minavavana is a myth, and that these charac- 
ters never in fact existed. If this charge be 
true, then indeed all confidence in Henry's 
narrative becomes impossible. Looking to the 
evidence in support of these assertions, how- 
ever, we find that it practically reduces to 
this, that Minavavana is unknown outside the 
pages of Henry. "A son of Matchekewis, 
captor of Mackinac," says the critic, "told 
Schoolcraft that the name was entirely strange 
to him." But when we turn to Schoolcraft for 
confirmation, we find that his witness was 
suspicious and unwilling to talk, and that 
Schoolcraft expressly cites the incident as an 
illustration of the difficulty of a white man's 
getting the truth from an Indian! 

Criticism of such character as this reveals 
itself to be is of the stuff of which dreams are 
made, and unworthy of serious consideration; 4 
and a more candid and capable critic must enter 
the lists before the historical repute of Henry's 
narrative can be seriously shaken. For my- 
self, I see no sufficient reason for doubting 
Henry's honesty, and his narrative itself 

4 1 have noticed it thus far only because, as far as my 
knowledge goes, it is the latest publication on the sub- 
ject of Henry's book, and as yet has evoked no notice 
or answer. In editing a new edition of Henry, there- 
fore, it seems proper to place his critic's attack in its 
proper setting. 


discloses internal evidence of shrewdness and 
insight on the part of its author. Necessarily, 
since it is a personal narration, his own doings 
and point of view receive constant emphasis. 
For this the intelligent reader will make due 
allowance, as he will for such errors of precise 
detail as may disclose themselves. That these 
should occur in the recital of sixteen years of 
travel and adventure is inevitable. Equally 
inevitable is it that the author could not have 
abandoned himself to willful mendacity with- 
out leaving evidences of the habit which would 
be patent to the scholar who follows on his 
trail; and when such a scholar as Francis 
Parkman accords to Henry a certificate of good 
faith we may be sure that his book is some- 
thing other than a collection of yarns spun 
for the delectation of a group of "pop-eyed 
New York burghers." 

From quite another point of view Henry's 
narrative deserves attention. It is evident 
that Henry must have received some educa- 
tion, but hi his twenty-first year he plunged 
into the wilderness, not to emerge therefrom 
for sixteen long years. Such a career is not in 
close accord with the curriculum laid down in 
the schools for the training of him who aspires 
to become a writer. Yet in some mysterious 
manner Henry had become a master of Eng- 
lish and this, his sole production, is literature 
in the best sense of the term. The shelves of 
our libraries are loaded down with books, dry 


as the desert of Sahara, whose authors have 
devoted their lives to the professed pursuit of 
learning. But here is a man whose formal 
education could scarcely have gone beyond the 
stage of the modern common school, and who 
for a decade and a half lived in an environ- 
ment of savagery wherein his life was at no 
time worth an hour's purchase; yet he has 
written a book instinct with literary charm 
and artistry. How was the miracle wrought? 
I do not profess to know, but I rejoice in the 
opportunity which is afforded me of helping to 
give Henry's narrative a wider circulation 
than it has hitherto had, and of bringing it to a 
fresh circle of readers. 

Henry's book was first published at New 
York in 1809 with the title "Travels and Ad- 
ventures in Canada and the Indian Territories 
Between the years 1760 and 1776. How large the 
edition was we have no information. Copies 
of it have now become so rare as to be prac- 
tically inaccessible to most readers. In 1901 
a reprint edition of 700 copies was brought out 
at Boston and Toronto under the scholarly 
editing of James Bain. In this reprint the 
typographical and other peculiarities of the 
original edition were carefully preserved, so 
that the text is "almost a facsimile" of the 
earlier volume. In editing the narrative for 
the Lakeside Classics I have thought proper to 
adopt a different procedure. While faithfully 
preserving the author's text and footnotes, no 


i|)itorical 3 nttotmcticm 

effort has been made to repeat the typograph- 
ical peculiarities of the original edition, for 
which, presumably, the printer, rather than the 
author, was responsible. On the contrary, the 
punctuation, chapter heads, and other typo- 
graphical details of this edition are the work of 
the present editor; and in a few instances, 
where propriety clearly dictated this course, 
obvious errors in the text have been corrected. 
This procedure will not, of course, commend 
the book to professional scholars, but these 
have, or can readily gain, access to the original 
edition; the Lakeside Classics are issued for 
the delectation of a different class of readers. 
The footnotes of the original edition are dis- 
tinguished from those supplied by the editor 
by the signature "author" or "editor" (as the 
case may be) appended to each note. 

Madison, Wisconsin. 







THE YEARS 1760 AND 1776 



Printed and Published by I. Riley 


BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the 
twelfth day of October, in the thirty- 
fourth year of the Independence of the 
United States of America, ISAAC RILEY, of 
the said district, hath deposited in this office 
the title of a book, the right whereof he claims 
as proprietor, in the words following, to wit: 

"Travels and Adventures in Canada and the 
Indian Territories, between the years 1760 and 
1776. In two parts. By ALEXANDER HENRY, 

IN CONFORMITY to the act of the Con- 
gress of the United States, entitled, "An act 
for the encouragement of learning, by securing 
the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the 
authors and proprietors of such copies, during 
the tunes therein mentioned"; and to an 
act, entitled, "An act, supplementary to an act, 
entitled, an act for the encouragement of 
learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts 
and books, to the authors and proprietors of 
such copies, during the times therein mentioned, 
and extending the benefits thereof to the arts 
of designing, engraving and etching historical 
and other prints." 

Clerk of the District of New York. 


The Right Honourable 

Knight - Companion 
of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; 

one of His Majesty's 

Most Honourable Privy Council; 

President of the Royal Society, F. S. A. 

Sec. &c. &c. 


with great deference, 
is most respectfully dedicated, 


his very devoted, 

and very humble servant, 


Montreal, October zoth, 1809. 


\ PREMATURE attempt to share in the 

/"\ fur trade of Canada, directly on the con- 

quest of the country, led the author of the 

following pages into situations of some danger 

and singularity; and the pursuit, under better 

auspices, of the same branch of commerce, 

occasioned him to visit various parts of the 

Indian Territories. 

These transactions occupied a period of 
sixteen years, commencing nearly with the 
author's setting out in life. The details, from 
time to time committed to paper, form the sub- 
ject matter of the present volume. 

The heads, under which, for the most part, 
they will be found to range themselves, are 
three: first, the incidents or adventures in 
which the author was engaged; secondly, the 
observations, on the geography and natural 
history of the countries visited, which he was 
able to make, and to preserve; and, thirdly, 
the views of society and manners, among a 
part of the Indians of North America, which it 
has belonged to the course of his narrative to 

Upon the last, the author may be permitted 
to remark, that he has by no means undertaken 
to write the general history of the American 


Indians, nor any theory of their morals, or 
their merits. With but few exceptions, it has 
been the entire scope of his design, simply to 
relate those particular facts, which are either 
identified with his own fortunes, or with the 
truth of which he is otherwise personally con- 
versant. All comment, therefore, in almost all 
instances, is studiously avoided. 

MONTREAL, October 2oth t 1809. 





IN the year 1760, when the British arms 
under General Amherst were employed in 
the reduction of Canada, I accompanied 
the expedition which subsequently to the sur- 
render of Quebec l descended from Oswego on 
Lake Ontario against Fort de Levi, one of the 
upper posts situate on an island which lies on 
the south side of the great river St. Lawrence, 
at a short distance below the mouth of 
the Oswegatchie. 2 Fort de Levi surrendered 
on the twenty-first day of August, seven 
days after the commencement of the siege; 
and General Amherst continued his voyage 

1 Quebec surrendered on the eighteenth of September, 
1759. Author. 

2 Following the capture of Quebec by General Wolfe, 
the French forces still remaining in the field retired upon 
Montreal. To complete the conquest of Canada, the 
British directed, in the summer of 1760, three simul- 
taneous converging expeditions against Montreal. 
The most formidable of these, led by Amherst, the 
commander-in-chief, proceeded 'from Lake Ontario 
down the St. Lawrence River an army of about 
11,000 men embarked in 800 bateaux and whale-boats. 
Fort LeVis, near modern Ogdensburgh, N.Y., built by 
the French in 1759 to guard the western entrance to 
the St. Lawrence, and garrisoned by 300 men, was 
taken on August 25 after a brief siege. Editor. 


down the stream, carrying his forces against 

It happened that in this voyage one of the 
few fatal accidents which are remembered to 
have occurred in that dangerous part of the 
river below Lake St. Francais, called the 
Rapides des Cadres, befell the British army. 
Several boats loaded with provisions and 
military stores were lost, together with up- 
ward of a hundred men. I had three boats 
loaded with merchandise, all of which were 
lost; and I saved my life only by gaining the 
bottom of one of my boats, which lay among 
the rocky shelves, and on which I continued 
for some hours, and until I was kindly taken 
off by one of the General's aides-de-camp. 

The surrender of Montreal, 3 and with it the 
surrender of all Canada, followed that of Fort 
de Levi at only the short interval of three 
days, and proposing to avail myself of the new 
market which was thus thrown open to British 
adventure I hastened to Albany, where my 
commercial connections were, and where I 
procured a quantity of goods with which I set 
out, intending to carry them to Montreal. 
For this, however, the winter was too near ap- 
proached; I was able only to return to Fort 
deLevi (to which the conquerors had now given 
the name of Fort William Augustus) and where 
I remained until the month of January in the 
following year. 

3 Montreal surrendered September 8, 1760. Editor. 

anti 3ltibcnturc 

At this time, having disposed of my goods 
to the garrison and the season for traveling 
on the snow and ice being set in, I prepared to 
go down to Montreal. The journey was to be 
performed through a country inhabited only by 
Indians and by beasts of the forest, and which 
presented to the eye no other change than 
from thick woods to the broad surface of a 
frozen river. It was necessary that I should 
be accompanied as well by an interpreter as by 
a guide, to both of which ends I engaged the 
services of a Canadian, named Jean Baptiste 

The snow which lay upon the ground was by 
this time three feet in depth. The hour of de- 
parture arriving, I left the fort on snowshoes, 
an article of equipment which I had never used 
before, and which I found it not a little dif- 
ficult to manage. I did not avoid frequent 
falls; and when down I was scarcely able to 

At sunset on the first day we reached an 
Indian encampment of six lodges and about 
twenty men. As these people had been very 
recently employed offensively against the 
English, in the French service, I agreed but 
reluctantly to the proposal of my guide and 
interpreter, which was nothing less than that 
we should pass the night with them. My fears 
were somewhat lulled by his information that 
he was personally acquainted with those who 
composed the camp, and by his assurances 

that; no danger was to be apprehended; and 
being greatly fatigued, I entered one of the 
lodges, where I presently fell asleep. 

Unfortunately Bodoine had brought upon 
his back a small keg of rum, which, while I 
slept, he opened, not only for himself but for 
the general gratification of his friends; a cir- 
cumstance of which I was first made aware in 
being awakened by a kick on the breast from 
the foot of one of my hosts, and by a yell or 
Indian cry which immediately succeeded. At 
the instant of opening my eyes I saw that 
my assailant was struggling with one of his 
companions, who, in conjunction with several 
women, was endeavoring to restrain his 
ferocity. Perceiving, however, in the coun- 
tenance of my enemy the most determined mis- 
chief, I sprung upon my feet, receiving in so 
doing a wound in my hand from a knife which 
had been raised to give a more serious wound. 
While the rest of my guardians continued their 
charitable efforts for my protection, an old 
woman took hold of my arm, and making signs 
that I should accompany her, led me out of the 
lodge, and then gave me to understand that 
unless I fled or could conceal myself I should 
certainly be killed. 

My guide was absent, and without his direc- 
tion I was at a loss where to go. In all the sur- 
rounding lodges there was the same howling 
and violence as in that from which I had es- 
caped. I was without my snowshoes, and had 

only so much clothing as I had fortunately left 
upon me when I lay down to sleep. It was now 
one o'clock in the morning in the month of 
January, and in a climate of extreme rigor. 

I was unable to address a single word in her 
own language to the old woman who had thus 
befriended me; but on repeating the name of 
Bodoine, I soon found that she comprehended 
my meaning; and having first pointed to a 
large tree, behind which she made signs that 
until she could find my guide I should hide 
myself, she left me on this important errand. 
Meanwhile, I made my way to the tree and 
seated myself in the snow. From my retreat 
I beheld several Indians running from one 
lodge to another, as if to quell the disturbance 
which prevailed. 

The coldness of the atmosphere congealed 
the blood about my wound and prevented fur- 
ther bleeding; and the anxious state of my 
mind rendered me almost insensible to bodily 
suffering. At the end of half an hour I heard 
myself called by Bodoine, whom, on going to 
him, I found as much intoxicated and as much 
a savage as the Indians themselves; but he was, 
nevertheless, able to fetch my snowshoes from 
the lodge in which I had left them, and to 
point out to me a beaten path, which presently 
entered a deep wood, and which he told me I 
must follow. 

After walking about three miles I heard, at 
length, the footsteps of my guide, who had now 

overtaken me. I thought it most prudent to 
abstain from all reproof; and we proceeded on 
our march till sunrise, when we arrived at 
a solitary Indian hunting-lodge, built with 
branches of trees, and of which the only in- 
habitants were an Indian and his wife. Here 
the warmth of a large fire reconciled me to a 
second experiment on Indian hospitality. The 
result was very different from that of the one 
which had preceded it; for after relieving my 
thirst with melted snow and my hunger with a 
plentiful meal of venison, of which there was a 
great quantity in the lodge, and which was 
liberally set before me, I resumed my journey, 
full of sentiments of gratitude, such as almost 
obliterated the recollection of what had be- 
fallen me among the friends of my benefactors. 

From the hunting lodge I followed my guide 
till evening, when we encamped on the banks 
of the St. Lawrence, making a fire and supping 
on the meat with which our wallets had been 
filled in the morning. 

While I indulged myself in rest my guide 
visited the shore, where he discovered a bark 
canoe which had been left there in the be- 
ginning of the winter by some Indian way- 
farers. We were now at the head of the Longue 
Sault, one of those portions of the river in 
which it passes over a shallow, inclining, and 
rocky bed, and where its motion consequently 
prevents it from freezing, even in the coldest 
part of the year; and my guide, as soon as he 


had made his discovery, recommended that 
we should go by water down the rapids, as 
the means of saving time, of shortening our 
journey, and of avoiding a numerous body 
of Indians then hunting on the banks below. 
The last of these arguments was with me so 
powerful that though* a bark canoe was a 
vehicle to which I was altogether a stranger, 
though this was a very small one of only six- 
teen or eighteen feet in length 4 and much out 
of repair, and though the misfortune which I 
had experienced in the navigation of these 
rocky parts of the St. Lawrence when de- 
scending with the army naturally presented 
itself to my mind as a still further discourage- 
ment, yet I was not long in resolving to under- 
take the voyage. 

Accordingly, after stopping the leaks as 
completely as we were able we embarked and 
proceeded. My fears were not lessened by per- 
ceiving that the least unskilful motion was 
sufficient to overset the ticklish craft into 
which I had ventured; by the reflection that a 
shock comparatively gentle from a mass of 
rock or ice was more than its frail material 
could sustain; nor by observing that the ice, 
which lined the shores of the river, was too 
strong to be pushed through and at the same 
time too weak to be walked upon, so that in 
the event of disaster it would be almost im- 
possible to reach the land. In fact, we had not 

4 There are still smaller. Author. 


proceeded more than a mile when our canoe 
became full of water, and it was not till after a 
long search that we found a place of safety. 

Treading once more upon dry ground, I 
should willingly have faced the wilderness and 
all its Indians rather than embark again; but 
my guide informed me that I was upon an 
island, and I had therefore no choice before 
me. We stopped the leaks a second time and 
recommenced our voyage, which we performed 
with success, but sitting all the way in six 
inches of water. In this manner we arrived 
at the foot of the rapids, where the river was 
frozen all across. Here we disembarked upon 
the ice, walked to the bank, made a fire, and 
encamped; for such is the phrase employed in 
the woods of Canada. 

At daybreak the next morning we put on our 
snowshoes and commenced our journey over 
the ice; and at ten o'clock arrived in sight of 
Lake St. Francais, which is from four to six 
miles in breadth. The wind was high and the 
snow, drifting over the expanse, prevented us 
at times from discovering the land, and con- 
sequently (for compass we had none) from 
pursuing with certainty our course. 

Toward noon the storm became so violent 
that we directed our steps to the shore on the 
north side by the shortest route we could; and 
making a fire, dined on the remains of the 
Indian hunter 's bounty. At two o'clock in the 
afternoon, when the wind had subsided and 


Crafcrig anti 

the atmosphere grown more clear, I discerned 
a cariole, or sledge, moving our way, and im- 
mediately sent my guide to the driver with a 
request that he would come to my encamp- 
ment. On his arrival I agreed with him to 
carry me to Les Cedres, a distance of eight 
leagues, for a reward of eight dollars. The 
driver was a Canadian who had been to the 
Indian village of St. Regis, and was now on his 
return to Les Cedres, then the uppermost 
white settlement on the St. Lawrence. 

Late in the evening I reached Les Cedres, 
and was carried to the house of M. Leduc, its 
seignior, by whom I was politely and hospi- 
tably received. M. Leduc being disposed to 
converse with me, it became a subject of re- 
gret that neither party understood the lan- 
guage of the other; but an interpreter was 
fortunately found in the person of a Serjeant 
of His Majesty's Eighteenth Regiment of 

I now learned that M. Leduc in the earlier 
part of his life had been engaged in the fur 
trade with the Indians of Michilimackinac and 
Lake Superior. He informed me of his ac- 
quaintance with the Indian languages and his 
knowledge of furs, and gave me to understand 
that Michilimackinac was richer in this com- 
modity than any other part of the world. He 
added that the Indians were a peaceable race 
of men, and that an European might travel 
from one side of the continent to the other 

without experiencing insult. Further, he men- 
tioned that a guide who lived at no great dis- 
tance from his house could confirm the truth 
of all that he had advanced. 

I, who had previously thought of visiting 
Michilimackinac with a view to the Indian 
trade, gave the strictest attention to all that 
fell on this subject from my host; and in order 
to possess myself as far as possible of all that 
might be collected in addition, I requested that 
the guide should be sent for. This man arrived, 
and a short conversation terminated in my 
engaging him to conduct myself, and the 
canoes which I was to procure, to Michili- 
mackinac in the month of June following. 

There being at this time no goods in Mont- 
real adapted to the Indian trade, my next 
business was to proceed to Albany to make my 
purchases there. This I did in the beginning 
of the month of May, by the way of Lake 
Champlain; and on the fifteenth of June ar- 
rived again in Montreal, bringing with me my 
outfits. As I was altogether a stranger to the 
commerce in which I was engaging, I confided 
in the recommendations given me of one Eti- 
enne Campion, 5 as my assistant; a part which 

5 Etienne Campion, a native of Montreal, was for 
several decades a prominent trader in the western 
country. During the Revolution he was an active 
British partisan in the Northwest. When, in Decem- 
ber, 1780, the little raiding party of Cahokians fell 
upon St. Joseph, Michigan, and plundered the traders 
there, Campion led the party of pursuers that was 



he uniformly fulfilled with honesty and fidelity. 
His Excellency, General Gage, who now 
commanded in chief in Canada, very reluc- 
tantly granted me the permission at this time 
requisite for going to Michilimackinac. No 
treaty of peace had yet been made between 
the English and the Indians, which latter were 
in arms under Pontiac, an Indian leader of 
more than common celebrity, and General 
Gage was therefore strongly and (as it became 
manifest) but too justly apprehensive that 
both the property and lives of His Majesty's 
subjects would be very insecure in the Indian 
countries. But he had already granted such 
permission to a Mr. Bostwick, 6 and this I was 
able to employ as an argument against his 
refusal in respect to myself. General Gage 
complied, and on the third day of August, 

hastily formed and in the battle which ensued, Decem- 
ber 5, 1780, somewhere in the vicinity of South Chicago, 
all but three of the raiders were killed or captured. 
Campion's name appears in numerous Mackinac doc- 
uments coming down to the year 1 794. Editor. 

6 This was Henry Bostwick, the first English trader 
to go to Mackinac after the surrender of Montreal. 
Although in August, 1761, he is reported as being at 
Detroit (Diary of Sir William Johnson), he seems to 
have made Mackinac his permanent headquarters. 
He was captured here by the Chippewa, in June, 17631 
and carried by the Ottawa to Montreal for ransom. 
Various documents show his residence at Mackinac in 
the following years; among others, he was a signer in 
1781 of the treaty whereby Governor Patrick Sinclair 
purchased Mackinac Island from the natives. Editor. 


1761, after some further delay in obtaining a 
passport from the town-major, I dispatched 
my canoes to Lachine, there to take in their 


inland navigation from Montreal 
to Michilimackinac may be performed 
either by the way of Lakes Ontario and 
Erie, or by the river Des Outaouais, Lake 
Nipisingue, and the river Des Francais, 7 for 
as well by one as the other of these routes 
we are carried to Lake Huron. The second is 
the shortest and that which is usually pursued 
by the canoes employed in the Indian trade. 

The canoes which I provided for my under- 
taking were, as is usual, five fathoms and a half 
in length and four feet and a half in their ex- 
treme breadth, and formed of birch-tree bark 
a quarter of an inch in thickness. The bark 
is lined with small splints of cedar- wood; and 
the vessel is further strengthened with ribs 
of the same wood, of which the two ends are 
fastened to the gunwales; several bars, rather 
than seats, are also laid across the canoe, from 
gunwale to gunwale. The small roots of the 
spruce tree afford the wattap, with which 
the bark is sewed; and the gum of the pine 
tree supplies the place of tar and oakum. 
Bark, some spare wattap, and gum are always 

7 The Ottawa River, Lake Nipissing and French 
River. Editor. 

Sllejcantier Ijjeturp 

carried in each canoe for the repairs which 
frequently become necessary. 

The canoes are worked, not with oars but 
with paddles, and occasionally with a sail. 
To each canoe there are eight men; and to 
every three or four canoes, which constitute a 
brigade, there is a guide or conductor. Skilful 
men, at double the wages of the rest, are placed 
in the head and stern. They engage to go 
from Montreal to Michilimackinac and back 
to Montreal again, the middle-men at one 
hundred and fifty livres and the end-men at 
three hundred livres each. 8 The guide has the 
command of his brigade and is answerable for 
all pillage and loss; and in return every man's 
wages is answerable to him. This regulation 
was established under the French government. 

The freight of a canoe of the substance and 
dimensions which I have detailed consists in 
sixty pieces, or packages of merchandise, of 
the weight of from ninety to a hundred pounds 
each, and provisions to the amount of one 
thousand weight. To this i to be added the 
weight of eight men and of eight bags weighing 
forty pounds each, one of which every man is 
privileged to put on board. The whole weight 
must therefore exceed eight thousand pounds, 
or may perhaps be averaged at four tons. 

The nature of the navigation which is to be 

8 These particulars may be compared with those of a 
more modern date, given in the Voyages of Sir Alex- 
ander Mackenzie. Author. 



described will sufficiently explain why the 
canoe is the only vessel which can be em- 
ployed along its course. The necessity, indeed, 
becomes apparent at the very instant of our 
departure from Montreal itself. 

The St. Lawrence for several miles immedi- 
ately above Montreal descends with a rapid 
current over a shallow, rocky bed; insomuch 
that even canoes themselves, when loaded, 
cannot resist the stream, and are therefore 
sent empty to Lachine, where they meet the 
merchandise which they are to carry, and 
which is transported thither by land. 9 La- 
chine is about nine miles higher up the river 
than Montreal, and is at the head of the 
Sault de St. Louis, which is the highest of 
the saults, falls, or leaps in this part of the 
St. Lawrence. 

On the third of August I sent my canoes to 
Lachine, and on the following morning em- 
barked with them for Michilimackinac. The 
river is here so broad as to be denominated a 
lake, by the title of Lake St. Louis; the pros- 
pect is wide and cheerful; and the village has 
several well-built houses. 

In a short time we reached the rapids and 
carrying-place of St. Anne, two miles below 

9 La Chine, or China, has always been the point of 
departure for the upper countries. It owes its name to 
the expeditions of M. de la Salle which were fitted out 
at this place for the discovery of a northwest passage 
to China. Author. 


the upper end of the island of Montreal; and it 
is not till after passing these that the voyage 
may be properly said to be commenced. At 
St. Anne's the men go to confession, and at 
the same time offer up their vows; for the 
saint from whom this parish derives its name 
and to whom its church is dedicated, is the 
patroness of the Canadians in all their travels 
by water. 10 

There is still a further custom to be observed 
on arriving at St. Anne's, and which is that 
of distributing eight gallons of rum to each 
canoe (a gallon for each man) for consumption 
during the voyage; nor is it less according to 
custom to drink the whole of this liquor upon 
the spot. The saint, therefore, and the priest 
were no sooner dismissed than a scene of intox- 
ication began in which my men surpassed, if 
possible, the drunken Indian in singing, right- 
ing, and the display of savage gesture and con- 
ceit. In the morning we reloaded the canoes 

10 Peter Pond, a Connecticut Yankee who went out 
to the western country as a trader in 1773, thus quaintly 
describes this aspect of the journey: "As you Pass 
the End of the Island of Montreal to Go in a Small 
Lake Cald the Lake of the [Two] Mountains thare 
stans a Small Roman Church Aganst a Small Raped. 
This Church is Dedacated to St. Ann who Protects all 
Voigers. Heare is a small Box with a Hole in the top 
for ye Reseption of a Little Money for the Hole Father 
or to say a small Mass for those Who Put a small Sum 
in the Box. Scars a Voiger but stops hear and Puts in 
his mite and By that Meanes thay Suppose thay are 
Protected." Wis. Hist. Colls., XVIII, 326. Editor. 


Cratoelg an& 

and pursued our course across the Lake des 
Deux Montagnes. 

This lake, like that of St. Louis, is only a 
part of the estuary of the Outaouais, which 
here unites itself with the St. Lawrence, or 
rather, according to some, the Cataraqui; 
for, with these, the St. Lawrence is formed 
by the confluence of the Cataraqui and Out- 
aouais. 11 

At noon we reached the Indian Mission of 
the Seminary of St. Sulpice, situate on the 
north bank of the lake, with its two villages, 
Algonquin and Iroquois, in each of which was 
reckoned an hundred souls. Here we received 
a hospitable reception and remained during 
two hours. I was informed by one of the mis- 
sionaries that since the conquest of the country 
the unrestrained introduction of spirituous liq- 
uors at this place, which had not been allowed 
under the former government, had occasioned 
many outrages. 

At two o'clock in the afternoon we prose- 
cuted our voyage; and at sunset disembarked 
and encamped at the foot of the Longue Sault. 
There is a Longue Sault both on this river and 
on the St. Lawrence. 

At ten leagues above the island of Montreal 
I passed the limits of the cultivated lands on 
the north bank of the Outaouais. On the 

11 This is the Utawas of some writers, the Ottaway of 
others, etc., etc., etc. It is also called the Grand River 
la Grande Riviere. Author. 


south, the farms are very few in number, but 
the soil has every appearance of fertility. 12 

In ascending the Longue Sault, a distance of 
three miles, my canoes were three times unladen, 
and together with their freight carried on the 
shoulders of the voyageurs. The rocky carry- 
ing-places are not crossed without danger of 
serious accidents by men bearing heavy burdens. 

The Longue Sault being passed, the Outa- 
ouais presented on either side only scenes of 
primitive forest, the common range of the 
deer, the wolf, the bear, and the Indian. The 
current is here gentle. The lands upon the 
south are low, and when I passed them were 
overflowed; but on the northern side the banks 
are dry and elevated, with much meadow land 
at their feet. The grass in some places was 
high. Several islands are in this part of the 
river. Among the fish, of which there are 
abundance, are catfish of a large size. 

At fourteen leagues above the Longue 
Sault we reached a French fort, or trading 
house, surrounded by a stockade. Attached 
was a small garden from which we procured 
some vegetables. The house had no inhabitant. 
At three leagues farther is the mouth of the 
Hare River, which descends from the north, 
and here we passed another trading house. 
At a few leagues still higher on the south bank 
is the mouth of a river four hundred yards 

12 Numerous and thriving colonists are now enjoying 
that fertility 1809. Author. 


wide, and which falls into the Outaouais per- 
pendicularly from the edge of a rock forty feet 
high. The appearance of this fall has procured 
for it the name of the rideau, or curtain; and 
hence the river itself is called the Rideau, or 
Riviere du Rideau. The fall presented itself to 
my view with extraordinary beauty and mag- 
nificence, and decorated with a variety of colors. 
Still ascending the Outaouais, at three 
leagues from the fall of the Rideau is that of 
La Grande Chaudiere, 13 a phenomenon of a 
different aspect. Here, on the north side of the 
river, is a deep chasm running across the chan- 
nel for about two hundred yards, from twenty- 
five to thirty feet in depth and without appar- 
ent outlet. In this receptacle a large portion 
of the river falls perpendicularly with a loud 
noise, and amid a cloud of spray and vapor, 
but embellished from time to time with the 
bright and gorgeous rainbow. The river at 
this place is a mile in width. In the rainy 
season the depth of the fall is lessened by reason 
of the large quantity of water which is received 
into the chasm, and which for want, as it 
would seem, of a sufficient drain, in part, fills 
it up. At such times an eddy and an accumu- 
lation of foam at a particular chasm have led 
me to suspect the existence of an opening be- 
neath through which the water finds a sub- 
terranean passage. The rock which forms the 

13 La Grande Chaudiere, i. e. the Great Kettle 


bed of the river appears to be split in an ob- 
lique direction from one shore to the other; 
and the chasm on the north side is only a more 
perfect breach. 

The fall of La Grande Chaudiere is more 
than twenty leagues above the Longue Sault. 
Its name is justified both by its form and by 
the vapor, or steam, which ascends from it. 
Above it there are several islands, of which the 
land is higher at the upper than at the lower 
extremities. The carrying-place is not more 
than a quarter of a mile in length, over a 
smooth rock, and so near the fall that the men 
in passing are wetted by the spray. From 
this carrying-place to another of rather more 
length, called the Portage de la Chaudiere and 
sometimes the Second Chaudiere, is only three 

In this part of the voyage I narrowly escaped 
a fatal accident. A thunder-gust having 
obliged us to make the shore, the men went 
into the woods for shelter while I remained in 
my canoe under a covering of bark. The canoe 
had been intended to be sufficiently drawn 
aground; but to my consternation it was not 
long before, while thus left alone, I perceived 
it to be adrift and going with the current to- 
ward La Grande Chaudiere. Happily I made 
a timely discovery of my situation, and getting 
out: in shallow water was enabled by the 
assistance of the men, who soon heard my 
call, to save my property along with my life. 



At twelve miles from the second Portage de 
la Chaudiere there is a third Chaudiere, but 
also called the Portage des Chenes. The 
name of this carrying-place is derived from the 
oak trees with which it abounds. It is half a 
mile in length, level, and of an agreeable 

The bed of the river is here very broad for a 
space of twelve leagues, or thirty-six miles; 
and in this part of its course it is called Lake 
des Chaudieres, a name derived from the falls 
below. The current in this place is scarcely 
perceptible. The lands on either side are high 
and the soil is good. At the head of Lake des 
Chaudieres is the Portage des Chats. The 
carrying-place is a high, uneven rock of diffi- 
cult access. The ridge of rock crosses the 
stream and occasions not only one but nu- 
merous falls, separated from each other by 
islands and affording a scene of very pleasing 
appearance. At the distance of a mile seven 
openings present themselves to the eye along a 
line of two miles, which at this point is the 
breadth of the river. At each opening is a fall 
of water of about thirty feet in height, and 
which from the whiteness of its foam might be 
mistaken for a snowbank. Above, for six 
miles there are many islands, between which 
the current is strong. To overcome the diffi- 
culties of this part of the navigation the canoes 
first carry one-half of their loading, and at a 
second trip the remainder. 


Above the islands the river is six miles in 
width, and is called Lake des Chats. The lake, 
so called, is thirty miles long. The lands 
about the lake are like those of Lake des 
Chaudieres; but higher up they are both high 
and rocky, and covered with no other wood 
than spruce and stunted pine. 

While paddling against the gentle current of 
Lake des Chats we met several canoes of 
Indians returning from their winter's hunt to 
their village at the Lake des Deux Monta- 
gnes. I purchased some of their maple sugar 
and beaver skins in exchange for provisions. 
They wished for rum, which I declined to sell 
them; but they behaved civilly, and we parted 
as we had met, in a friendly manner. Before 
they left us they inquired of my men whether 
or not I was an Englishman, and being told 
that I was, they observed that the English 
were mad in their pursuit of beaver, since they 
could thus expose their lives for it; "for," add- 
ed they, "the Upper Indians will certainly kill 
him," meaning myself. These Indians had 
left their village before the surrender of Mon- 
treal and I was the first Englishman they had 

In conversation with my men I learned that 
the Algonquins of the Lake des Deux Mon- 
tagnes, of which description were the party 
that I had now met, claim all the lands on the 
Outaouais as far as Lake Nipisingue; and that 
these lands are subdivided between their 


several families upon whom they have de- 
volved by inheritance. I was also informed 
that they are exceedingly strict as to the rights 
of property in this regard, accounting an in- 
vasion of them an offense sufficiently great to 
warrant the death of the invader. 

We now reached the channels of the Grand 
Calumet, which lie amid numerous islands, 
and are about twenty miles in length. In 
this distance there are four carrying-places, 14 
besides three or four decharges, 15 or discharges, 
which are places where the merchandise only 
is carried, and are therefore distinguishable 
from portages, or carrying-places where the 
canoe itself is taken out of the water and trans- 
ported on men 's shoulders. The four carrying- 
places included in the channels are short, with 
the exception of one, called the Portage de la 
Montagne, at which, besides its length, there 
is an acclivity of a hundred feet. 

On the tenth of July 16 we reached the Port- 
age du Grand Calumet, which is at the head of 
the channels of the same name, and which 
name is derived from the pierre d Calumet, 17 
or pipe-stone, which here interrupts the river, 

14 Portage Dufort, etc. Author. 

15 Decharge des Sables, etc. Author. 

16 The month was now August. Editor. 

17 The pierre a Calumet is a compact limestone, 
yielding easily to the knife, and therefore employed for 
the bowls of tobacco pipes, both by the Indians and 
Canadians . Author. 



occasioning a fall of water. This carrying-place 
is long and arduous, consisting in a high steep 
hill, over which the canoe cannot be carried 
by fewer than twelve men. The method of 
carrying the packages, or pieces, as they are 
called, is the same with that of the Indian 
women, and which indeed is not peculiar even 
to them. One piece rests and hangs upon the 
shoulders, being suspended in a fillet, or fore- 
head-band; and upon this is laid a second, 
which usually falls into the hollow of the neck, 
and assists the head in its support of the 

The ascent of this carrying-place is not more 
fatiguing than the descent is dangerous; and 
in performing it accidents too often occur, 
producing strains, ruptures, and injuries for 
life. 18 

The carrying-place and the repairs of our 
canoes, which cost us a day, detained us till the 
thirteenth. It is usual for the canoes to leave 
the Grand Calumet in good repair; the rapids, 
or shallow rocky parts of the channel (from 
which the canoes sustain the chief injury) 
being now passed, the current becomes gentle, 
and the carrying-places less frequent. The 
lands above the carrying-places and near the 
water are low, and in the spring entirely 

18 A charitable fund is now established in Montreal 
for the relief of disabled and decayed voyageurs. 


auto &tifccnture 

On the morning of the fourteenth we reached 
a trading fort, or house, surrounded by a stock- 
ade, which had been built by the French, and 
at which the quantity of peltries received was 
once not inconsiderable. For twenty miles 
below this house the borders of the river are 
peculiarly well adapted to cultivation. From 
some Indians who were encamped near the 
house I purchased fish, dried and fresh., 

At the rapids called Des Allumettes are 
two short carrying-places, above which is the 
Riviere Creuse, 19 twenty-six miles in length, 
where the water flows with a gentle current 
at the foot of a high, mountainous, barren and 
rocky country on the north, and has a low and 
sandy soil on the south. On this southern side 
is a remarkable point of sand, stretching far 
into the stream, and on which it is customary 
to baptize novices. Above the River Creuse 
are the two carrying-places of the length of 
half a mile e'ach, called the Portages des Deux 
Joachins; and at fifteen miles farther, at the 
mouth of the River Du Moine is another fort, 
or trading-house, where I found a small 
encampment of Indians called Maskegons, and 
with whom I bartered several articles for furs. 
They anxiously inquired whether or not the 
English were in possession of the country 
below, and whether or not, if they were, they 
would allow traders to come to that trading- 
house; declaring that their families must starve 

19 Called by the English Deep River. Author. 

unless they should be able to procure ammuni- 
tion and other necessaries. I answered both 
these questions in the affirmative, at which 
they expressed much satisfaction. Above the 
Moine are several strong and dangerous rapids, 
reaching to the Portage du Roche Capitaine, a 
carrying-place of three-quarters of a mile in 
length, mountainous, rocky, and wooded only 
with stunted pine trees and spruce. Above 
this is the Portage des Deux Rivieres, so 
called from the two small rivers by which it is 
intersected; and higher still are many rapids 
and shoals, called by the Indians matawa. 
Here the river, called by the French Petite 
Riviere, and by the Indians Matawa Sipi, 21 falls 
into the Outaouais. We now left the latter 
of these rivers and proceeded to ascend the 

20 Mataouan (Matawan); Charlevoix; Matawoen. 
Mackenzie 's Voyages. Author. 

21 Modern Matawan River. Editor. 


Chapter 3 


OUR course in ascending the Outaouais 
had been west-northwest; but on enter- 
ing the Matawa our faces were turned 
to the southwest. This latter river is com- 
puted to be fourteen leagues in length. In the 
widest parts it is a hundred yards broad, and 
in others not more than fifty. In ascending 
it there are fourteen carrying-places and dis- 
charges, of which some are extremely difficult. 
Its banks are almost two continuous rocks, 
with scarcely earth enough for the burial of a 
dead body. I saw Indian graves, if graves 
they might be called, where the corpse was 
laid upon the bare rock and covered with 
stones. In the side of a hill on the north 
side of the river there is a curious cave con- 
cerning which marvelous tales are related 
by the voyageurs. Mosquitoes and a minute 
species of black fly abound on this river, 
the latter of which are still more trouble- 
some than the former. To obtain a respite 
from their vexations we were obliged at the 
carrying-places to make fires and stand in 
the smoke. 

On the twenty-sixth of August we reached 
the Portages a la Vase, three in number, and 


each two miles in length. Their name 22 de- 
scribes the boggy ground of which they consist. 
In passing one of them we saw many beaver 
houses and dams; and by breaking one of the 
dams we let off water enough to float our 
canoes down a small stream which would not 
otherwise have been navigable. These car- 
rying-places and the intermediate navigation 
brought us at length to the head of a small 
river which falls into Lake Nipisingue. We 
had how passed the country of which the 
streams fall northeastward into the Outaouais, 
and entered that from which they flow in a 
contrary direction toward Lake Huron. On 
one side of the height of land, which is the 
reciprocal boundary of these regions, we had 
left Lake aux Tourtres and the River Matawa; 
and before us on the other was Lake Nipi- 
singue. The banks of the little river by which 
we descended into the lake, and more especially 
as we approached the lake, were of an exceed- 
ingly delightful appearance, covered with high 
grass and affording an extensive prospect. 
Both the lake and river abound hi black bass, 
sturgeon, pike, and other fish. Among the pike 
is to be included the species called by the 
Indians masquinonge. In two hours with the 

22 Vase is the French equivalent of mud or slime. 

23 Known to sportsmen of the present day as the 
Muskellunge. Editor. 



assistance of an Indian we took as much fish 
as all the party could eat. 

Lake Nipisingue is distant two hundred 
leagues from Montreal. Its circumference is 
said to measure one hundred and fifty miles, 
and its depth is sufficient for vessels of any 
burden. On our voyage along its eastern banks 
we met some canoes of Indians, who said they 
lived on the northwestern side. My men in- 
formed me that they were Nipisingues, a 
name which they derive from the lake. Their 
language is a dialect of the Algonquin; and by 
nation they are a mixture of Chippewa and 
Maskegons. They had a large quantity of furs, 
part of which I purchased. The animals which 
the country affords them are the beaver, 
marten, bear and o'tic, a'tic, or caribou, a 
species of deer, by some called the reindeer. 
They wished for rum, but I avoided selling or 
giving them any. 

Leaving the Indians, we proceeded to the 
mouth of the lake at which is the carrying- 
place of La Chaudiere Francaise, 24 a name 
part of which it has obtained from the holes 
in the rock over which we passed; and which 
holes, being of the kind which is known to 
be formed by water with the assistance of 
pebbles, demonstrate that it has not always 
been dry as at present it is, but the phenom- 
enon is not peculiar to this spot, the same 
being observable at almost every carrying- 

24 Or, la Chaudiere des Fran^ais. Author. 

place on the Outaouais. At the height of a 
hundred feet above the river I commonly 
found pebbles worn into a round form like 
those upon the beach below. Everywhere the 
water appears to have subsided from its 
ancient levels; and imagination may anticipate 
an era at which even the banks of Newfound- 
land will be left bare. 

The southern shores of Lake Nipisingue are 
rocky, and only thinly covered with pine trees 
and spruce, both, as in several instances al- 
ready mentioned, of a small stature. The 
carrying-place of La Chaudiere Franchise is 
at the head of the River des Francais, and 
where the water first descends from the level 
of Lake Nipisingue toward that of Lake Huron. 
This it does not reach till it has passed down 
many rapids, full of danger to the canoes and 
the men, after which it enters Lake Huron by 
several arms, flowing through each as through 
mill-race. The River des Francais 25 is twenty 
leagues in length and has many islands in its 
channel. Its banks are uniformly of rock. 
Among the carrying-places at which we suc- 
cessively arrived are the Portage des Pins, or 
du Pin; de la Grande Faucille; 26 de la Petite 
FauciUe; and du Sault du Recolet. 27 Near the 

25 Modern French River. Editor. 

26 Faucille, Fr. a sickle. Author. 

27 So called, perhaps, on account of the resemblance 
of this Sault to that of the Sault du Recolet, between 



mouth of the river a meadow, called La Prairie 
des Franf ais, varies for a short space the rocky 
surface which so generally prevails; and on 
this spot we encamped and repaired our canoes. 
The carrying-places were now all passed, and 
what remained was to cross the billows of 
Lake Huron, which lay stretched across our 
horizon like an ocean. 

On the thirty-first day of August we entered 
the lake, the waves running high from the 
south, and breaking over numerous rocks. At 
first I thought the prospect alarming; but the 
canoes rode on the water with the ease of a 
sea-bird, and my apprehensions ceased. We 
passed Point aux Grondines, so called from the 
perpetual noise of the water among the rocks. 
Many of these rocks are sunken and not with- 
out danger when the wind, as at this time it 
was, is from the south. 

We coasted along many small islands, or 
rather rocks, of more or less extent, either 
wholly bare or very scantily covered with 
scrub pine trees. All the land to the northward 
is of the same description as high as Cha'ba'- 
Bou'an'ing, where verdure reappears. 

On the following day we reached an island 
called La Cloche, because there is here a rock 
standing on a plain, which, being struck, rings 
like a beU. 

the islands of Montreal and Jesus, and which has its 
name from the death of a Recolet or Franciscan friar, 
who was there drowned. Author: 


I found the island inhabited by a large 
village of Indians, whose behavior was at first 
full of civility and kindness. I bartered away 
some small articles among them in exchange 
for fish and dried meat; and we remained upon 
friendly terms till, discovering that I was an 
Englishman, they told my men that the 
Indians at Michilimackinac would not fail to 
kill me, and that therefore they had a right to 
a share of the pillage. Upon this principle, as 
they said, they demanded a keg of rum, adding 
that if not given them they would proceed to 
take it. I judged it prudent to comply; on 
condition, however, that I should experience at 
this place no further molestation. 

The condition was not unfaithfully observed; 
but the repeated warnings which I had now re- 
ceived of sure destruction at Michilimackinac 
could not but oppress my mind. I could not 
even yield myself, without danger, to the 
course suggested by my fears; for my provisions 
were nearly exhausted and to return was, 
therefore, almost impracticable. 

The hostility of the Indians was exclusively 
against the English. Between them and my 
Canadian attendants there appeared the most 
cordial good-will. This circumstance suggested 
one means of escape, of which by the advice 
of my friend Campion I resolved to attempt 
availing myself; and which was that of putting 
on the dress usually worn by such of the Cana- 
dians as pursue the trade into which I had 



entered and assimilating myself as much as I 
was able to their appearance and manners. To 
this end I laid aside my English clothes and 
covered myself only with a cloth passed about 
the middle, a shirt hanging loose, a molton, or 
blanket coat, and a large, red, milled worsted 
cap. The next thing was to smear my face and 
hands with dirt and grease; and this done, I 
took the place of one of my men, and when 
Indians approached, used the paddle with as 
much skill as I possessed. I had the satisfac- 
tion to find that my disguise enabled me to 
pass several canoes without attracting the 
smallest notice. 

In this manner I pursued my voyage to the 
mouth, or rather mouths, of the Missisaki, a 
river which descends from the north, and of 
which the name imports that it has several 
mouths, or outlets. From this river all the 
Indians inhabiting the north side of Lake 
Huron are called Missisakies. There is here a 
plentiful sturgeon fishery, by which those that 
resort to it are fed during the summer months. 
On our voyage we met several Missisakies of 
whom we bought fish, and from whose stock 
we might easily have filled all our canoes. 

From the Missisaki, which is on the north 
shore of Lake Huron, to Michilimackinac, 
which is on the south, is reckoned thirty 
leagues. The lake, which here approaches 
Lake Superior, is now contracted in its breadth, 
as well as filled with islands. From the mouth 


of the River des Franf ais to the Missisaki is 
reckoned fifty leagues, with many islands along 
the route. The lands everywhere from the 
Island of La Cloche are poor, with the excep- 
tion of those of the Island of Manitoualin, a 
hundred miles, in length, 28 where they are 
generally good. On all the islands the Indians 
cultivate small quantities of maize. 

From the Missisaki we proceeded to the 
O'tossalon 29 and thence across the lake, 
making one island after another, at intervals 
of from two to three leagues. The lake, as far 
as it could be seen, tended to the westward and 
became less and less broad. 

The first land which we made on the south 
shore was that called Point du Detour, 30 after 

28 The Isle Manitoualin was formerly so described. 
It is now known that there is no island in Lake Huron 
of a hundred miles in length, and that the Manitoualin 
are a chain of islands. The French writers on Canada 
speak of the Isle Manitoualin as inhabited in their 
time by the Amikoues (Amicways, Amicwac), whom 
they called a family (and sometimes a nation), deriving 
its origin from the Great Beaver, a personage of myth- 
ological importance. The name Manitoualin implies 
the residence of Manitoes, or genii, a distinction very 
commonly attributed to the islands, and sometimes to 
the shores, of Lakes Huron and Superior, and of which 
further examples will present themselves in the course 
of these pages. Author. 

29 Also written Tessalon, Thessalon, and des Tessa- 
Ions. Author. 

30 Point du Detour, or Grand Detour, is the eastern 
extremity of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Isle 
aux Outardes is modern Goose Island. Editor. 


anfc 3ttitoenture 

which we passed the island called Isle aux 
Outardes, and then leaving on the right the 
deep bay of Boutchitaouy came to the island 
of Michilimackinac, distant from Isle aux 
Outardes three leagues. On our way a sudden 
squall reduced us to the point of throwing over 
the cargoes of our canoes to save the latter 
from filling; but the wind subsided and we 
reached the island in safety. 

The land in the center of this island is high 
and its form somewhat resembles that of a 
turtle's back. Mackinac, or Mickinac, sig- 
nifies a turtle, and michi (mishi), or missi, 
signifies great, as it does also several, or many. 
The common interpretation of the word Michi- 
limackinac is the Great Turtle. It is from this 
island that the fort, commonly known by the 
name of Michilimackinac, has obtained its 
appellation. 31 

On the island, as I had been previously 
taught to expect, there was a village of 

31 This is, perhaps, debatable. It is important for the 
modern reader to remember that the term Mackinac 
has been applied at different times to different points 
in the region adjoining the head of Lake Michigan. In 
the time of Marquette, Mackinac was on the north side 
of the strait, upon Point St. Ignace. From 1712 to 1781 
it was on the south side of the strait, in the immediate 
vicinity of modern Mackinaw City. In 1781 Governor 
Sinclair established his British garrison on the island of 
Mackinac, where the modern resort city stands. Thus 
the Mackinac to which Henry came in 1761, and where 
the massacre occurred in 1763, was on the southern 
mainland near modern Mackinaw City. Editor. 


Chippewa, said to contain a hundred warriors. 
Here I was fearful of discovery and consequent 
ill-treatment, but after inquiring the news, and 
particularly whether or not any Englishman 
was coming to Michilimackinac, they suffered 
us to pass uninjured. One man, indeed, 
looked at me, laughed, and pointed me out 
to another. This was enough to give me 
some uneasiness; but whatever was the sin- 
gularity he perceived in me, both he and his 
friend retired without suspecting me to be an 

Chapter 4 


EAVING as speedily as possible the 
island of Michilimackinac I crossed the 
strait and landed at the fort of the same 
name. The distance from the island is about 
two leagues. I landed at four o'clock in the 

Here I put the entire charge of my effects 
into the hands of my assistant, Campion, 
between whom and myself it had been pre- 
viously agreed that he should pass for the 
proprietor; and my men were instructed to 
conceal the fact that I was an Englishman. 

Campion soon found a house to which I 
retired, and where I hoped to remain in privacy; 
but the men soon betrayed my secret, and 
I was visited by the inhabitants with great 
show of civility. They assured me that I 
could not stay at Michilimackinac without the 
most imminent risk; and strongly recommended 
that I should lose no time in making my escape 
to Detroit. 

Though language like this could not but 
increase my uneasiness it did not shake my 
determination to remain with my property and 
encounter the evils with which I was threatened; 
and my spirits were in some measure sustained 


by the sentiments of Campion in this regard; 
for he declared his belief that the Canadian 
inhabitants of the fort were more hostile than 
the Indians as being jealous of English traders, 
who like myself were penetrating into the 

Fort Michilimackinac was built by order of 
the governor-general of Canada, and garrisoned 
with a small number of militia, who, having 
families, soon became less soldiers than set- 
tlers. Most of those whom I found in the fort 
had originally served in the French army. 

The fort stands on the south side of the 
strait which is between Lake Huron and Lake 
Michigan. It has an area of two acres, and 
is enclosed with pickets of cedar wood; 32 and 
it is so near the water's edge that when the 
wind is in the* west the waves break against the 
stockade. On the bastions are two small 
pieces of brass English cannon taken some 
years since by a party of Canadians who went 
on a plundering expedition against the posts of 
Hudson's Bay, which they reached by the 
route of the River Churchill. 

Within the stockade are thirty houses, neat 
in then* appearance, and tolerably commodious; 
and a church in which mass is celebrated by 
a Jesuit missionary. The number of families 
may be nearly equal to that of the houses; 
and their subsistence is derived from the Indian 
traders who assemble here in their voyages to 

32 Thuya occidentalis. Author. 


and from Montreal. Michilimackinac is the 
place of deposit and point of departure be- 
tween the upper countries and the lower. Here 
the outfits are prepared for the countries of 
Lake Michigan and the Mississippi, Lake 
Superior, and the Northwest; and here the 
returns in furs are collected and embarked for 

I was not released from the visits and ad- 
monitions of the inhabitants of the fort before 
I received the equivocal intelligence that the 
whole band of Chipewa from the island of 
Michilimackinac was arrived with the inten- 
tion of paying me a visit. 

There was in the fort one Farley, an inter- 
preter, lately in the employ of the French 
commandant. He had married a Chipewa 
woman and was said to possess great influence 
over the nation to which his wife belonged. 
Doubtful as to the kind of visit which I was 
about to receive I sent for this interpreter and 
requested first that he would have the kindness 
to be present at the interview, and secondly 
that he would inform me of the intentions of 
the band. M. Farley agreed to be present; and 
as to the object of the visit, replied that it was 
consistent with uniform custom that a stranger 
on his arrival should be waited upon and wel- 
comed by the chiefs of the nation, who on their 
part always gave a small present, and always ex- 
pected a large one; but as to the rest, declared 
himself unable to answer for the particular 

views of the Chipewa on this occasion, I 
being an Englishman, and the Indians having 
made no treaty with the English. He thought 
that there might be danger, the Indians having 
protested that they would not suffer an 
Englishman to remain in their part of the 
country. This information was far from agree- 
able; but there was no resource, except in 
fortitude and patience. 

At two o'clock in the afternoon the Chip- 
pewa came to my house, about sixty in num- 
ber, and headed by Minavavana, their chief. 
They walked in single file, each with his toma- 
hawk in one hand and scalping knife in the 
other. Their bodies were naked from the waist 
upward, except in a few examples where 
blankets were thrown loosely over the shoul- 
ders. Their faces were painted with charcoal, 
worked up with grease; their bodies with 
white clay in patterns of various fancies. 
Some had feathers thrust through their noses, 
and their heads decorated with the same. It 
is unnecessary to dwell on the sensations with 
which I beheld the approach of this uncouth, 
if not frightful assemblage. 

The chief entered first, and the rest followed 
without noise. On receiving a sign from the 
former, the latter seated themselves on the floor. 

Minavavana 33 appeared to be about fifty 
years of age. He was six feet in height, and 

33 This chief, who figures so prominently in Henry's 
story, has commonly been identified by historians as 


had in his countenance an indescribable mix- 
ture of good and evil. Looking steadfastly at 
me where I sat in ceremony, with an interpreter 
on either hand, and several Canadians behind 
me, he entered at the same time into conver- 
sation with Campion, inquiring how long it was 
since I left Montreal, and observing that the 
English, as it would seem, were brave men and 
not afraid of death, since they dared to come 
as I had done fearlessly among their enemies. 

The Indians now gravely smoked their 
pipes, while I inwardly endured the tortures of 
suspense. At length the pipes being finished, as 
well as the long pause by which they were 
succeeded, Minavavana, taking a few strings 
of wampum in his hand, began the following 

"Englishman, it is to you that I speak, and 
I demand your attention! 

"Englishman, you know that the French king 
is our father. He promised to be such; and we 
in return promised to be his children. This 
promise we have kept. 

"Englishman, it is you that have made war 
with this our father. You are his enemy; and 
how then could you have the boldness to 
venture among us, his children? You know 
that his enemies are ours. 

"Englishman, we are informed that our father, 
the King of France, is old and infirm; and that 
the Grand Sauteur, an encounter with whom in 1767 
is described by Jonathan Carver. Editor. 


being fatigued with making war upon your 
nation, he is fallen asleep. During his sleep 
you have taken advantage of him and possessed 
yourselves of Canada. But his nap is almost at 
an end. I think I hear him already stirring 
and inquiring for his children, the Indians; and 
when he does awake, what must become of you? 
He will destroy you utterly! 

"Englishman, although you have conquered 
t}ie French, you have not yet conquered us! 
We are not your slaves. These lakes, these 
woods and mountains were left to us by our 
ancestors. They are our inheritance; and we 
will part with them to none. Your nation 
supposes that we, like the white people, cannot 
live without bread and pork and beef! But 
you ought to know that He, the Great Spirit 
and Master of Life, has provided food for us 
in these spacious lakes and on these woody 

"Englishman, our father, the King of France, 
employed our young men to make war upon 
your nation. In this warfare many of them 
have been killed, and it is our custom to retal- 
iate until such time as the spirits of the slain 
are satisfied. But the spirits of the slain are 
to be satisfied in either of two ways; the first 
is by the spilling of the blood of the nation by 
which they fell; the other by covering the 
bodies of the dead, and thus allaying the resent- 
ment of their relations. This is done by making 



"Englishman, your king has never sent us any 
presents, nor entered into any treaty with us, 
wherefore he and we are still at war; and until 
he does these things we must consider that 
we have no other father, nor friend among the 
white men than the King of France; but for 
you we have taken into consideration that you 
have ventured your life among us in the ex- 
pectation that we should not molest you. You 
do not come armed with an intention to make 
war; you come in peace to trade with us and 
supply us with necessaries of which we are in 
much want. We shall regard you, therefore, as 
a brother; and you may sleep tranquilly, 
without fear of the Chipewa. As a token 
of our friendship we present you with this pipe 
to smoke. " 

As Minavavana uttered these words an 
Indian presented me with a pipe, which, after 
I had drawn the smoke three times, was carried 
to the chief, and after him to every person in 
the room. This ceremony ended, the chief 
arose and gave me his hand in which he was 
followed by all the rest. 

Being again seated, Minavavana requested 
that his young men might be allowed to taste 
what he called my English milk (meaning 
rum) observing that it was long since they 
had tasted any, and that they were very de- 
sirous to know whether or not there were any 
difference between the English milk and the 



My adventure on leaving Fort William 
Augustus had left an impression on my mind 
which made me tremble when Indians asked 
for rum; and I would therefore willingly have 
excused myself in this particular; but being 
informed that it was customary to comply 
with the request, and withal satisfied with the 
friendly declarations which I had received, I 
promised to give them a small cask at parting. 

After this, by the aid of my interpreter I 
made a reply to the speech of Minavavana, 
declaring that it was the good character which 
I had heard of the Indians that had alone 
emboldened me to come among them; that their 
late father, the King of France, had surrendered 
Canada to the King of England, whom they 
ought now to regard as their father, and who 
would be as careful of them as the other had 
been; that I had come to furnish them with 
necessaries, and that their good treatment of 
me would be an encouragement to others. 
They appeared satisfied with what I said, 
repeating eh! (an expression of approbation) 
after hearing each particular. I had prepared 
a present which I now gave them with the ut- 
most good will . At their departure I distributed 
a small quantity of rum. 

Relieved as I now imagined myself from all 
occasion of anxiety as to the treatment which 
I was to experience from the Indians, I as- 
sorted my goods, and hired Canadian inter- 
preters and clerks, in whose care I was to send 
4 6 

Cratoelg attfc 

them into Lake Michigan and the River 
St. Pierre, in the country of the Nadowessies; 34 
into Lake Superior among the Chipewa, and 
to the Grand Portage for the Northwest. 
Everything was ready for their departure 
when new dangers sprung up and threatened 
to overwhelm me. 

At the entrance of Lake Michigan and at 
about twenty miles to the west of Fort Michi- 
limackinac is the village of L'Arbre Croche, 
inhabited by a band of Ottawa boasting of two 
hundred and fifty fighting men. L'Arbre 
Croche is the seat of the Jesuit mission of St. 
Ignace de Michilimackinac, and the people are 
partly baptized, and partly not. 35 The rnis- 
sionary resides on a farm attached to the 
mission and situated between the village and 
the fort, both of which are under his care. 
The Ottawa of L'Arbre Croche, who when 
compared with the Chipewa appear to be a 
much advanced in civilization, grow maize 
for the market of Michilimackinac, where this 

34 The "Nadowessies" are the Dakota or Sioux 
Indians. The "St. Pierre" is the modern Minnesota 
River, which empties into the Mississippi between St. 
Paul and Minneapolis. Editor. 

35 L'Arbre Croche, on the north shore of Little Tra- 
verse Bay near modern Harbor Springs, was founded as 
a mission village in 1742, and has ever since remained 
a center for Catholic mission Indians. It is more nearly 
south than west of old Mackinaw, and the distance by 
water is about forty miles. Editor. 


commodity is depended upon for provisioning 
the canoes. 

The new dangers which presented themselves 
came from this village of Ottawa. Everything 
as I have said was in readiness for the de- 
parture of my goods when accounts arrived of 
its approach; and shortly after, two hundred 
warriors entered the fort and billeted them- 
selves in the several houses among the Cana- 
dian inhabitants. The next morning they 
assembled in the house which was built for the 
commandant, or governor, and ordered the 
attendance of myself and of two other mer- 
chants still later from Montreal, namely 
Messrs. Stanley Goddard and Ezekiel Solo- 
mons. 36 

After our entering the council room and 
taking our seats one of the chiefs commenced 
an address: 

"Englishmen," he said, "we, the Ottawas 
were some time since informed of your arrival 

36 These men were, with Henry, among the earliest 
British traders to reach the upper country. James 
Stanley Goddard accompanied Lieutenant Gorrell to 
Green Bay, being driven from here by the uprising of 
1763. Upon the restoration of British authority he re- 
turned to the Northwest, where he was for many years 
a prominent merchant. About the year 1 777 he became 
government storekeeper at Montreal, and this position 
he continued to hold as late as 1795. Ezekiel Solomon, 
like Goddard, was driven out of the upper country in 
1763 but later he returned, and in 1778 we find him 
preparing a trading outfit to winter on the north shore 
of Lake Superior. Editor. 



in this country, and of your having brought 
with you the goods of which we have need. At 
this news we were greatly pleased, believing 
that through your assistance our wives and 
children would be enabled to pass another 
winter; but what was our surprise, when a few 
days ago we were again informed that the 
goods which as we had expected were intended 
for us were on the eve of departure for distant 
countries, of which some are inhabited by our 
enemies! These accounts being spread, our 
wives and children came to us crying and 
desiring that we should go to the fort to learn 
with our own ears their truth or falsehood. 
We accordingly embarked almost naked as 
you see; and on our arrival here we have 
inquired into the accounts and found them 
true. We see your canoes ready to depart and 
find your men engaged for the Mississippi 
and other distant regions. 

"Under these circumstances we have con- 
sidered the affair; and you are now sent for 
that you may hear our determination, which 
is that you shall give to each of our men, young 
and old, merchandise and ammunition to the 
amount of fifty beaver skins on credit, and for 
which I have no doubt of their paying you 
in the summer, on their return from their 
wintering. " 

A compliance with this demand would have 
stripped me and my fellow merchants of all our 
merchandise; and what rendered the affair still 


more serious, we even learned that these 
Ottawa were accustomed never to pay for 
what they received on credit. In reply, there- 
fore, to the speech which we had heard, we 
requested that the demand contained in it 
might be diminished; but we were answered 
that the Ottawa had nothing further to say 
except that they would allow till the next day 
for reflection; after which, if compliance was 
not given, they would make no further appli- 
cation, but take into their own hands the prop, 
erty which they already regarded as their own- 
as having been brought into their country be- 
fore the conclusion of any peace between them- 
selves and the English. 

We now returned to consider of our situa- 
tion; and in the evening Farley, the interpreter, 
paid us a visit, and assured us that it was the 
intention of the Ottawa to put us that night 
to death. He advised us, as our only means of 
safety, to comply with the demands which had 
been made; but we suspected our informant of 
a disposition to prey upon our fears with a view 
to induce us to abandon the Indian trade, and 
resolved however this might be, rather to 
stand on the defensive than submit. We 
trusted to the house in which I lived as a fort, 
and armed ourselves and about thirty of our 
men with muskets. Whether or not the Otta- 
wa ever intended violence we never had an 
opportunity of knowing; but the night passed 


ratoelg anfc 

Early the next morning a second council was 
held, and the merchants were again summoned 
to attend. Believing that every hope of re- 
sistance would be lost, should we commit our 
persons into the hands of our enemies, we sent 
only a refusal. There was none without in 
whom we had any confidence, except Campion. 
From him we learned from time to time what- 
ever was rumored among the Canadian inhabi- 
tants as to the designs of the Ottawa; and 
from him toward sunset we received the gratify- 
ing intelligence that a detachment of British 
soldiery, sent to garrison Michilimackinac, was 
distant only five miles and would enter the 
fort early the next morning. 

Near at hand, however, as relief was reported 
to be, our anxiety could not but be great; for 
a long night was to be passed, and our fate 
might be decided before the morning. To 
increase our apprehensions, about midnight we 
were informed that the Ottawa were holding 
a council, at which no white man was per- 
mitted to be present, Farley alone excepted; 
and him we suspected, and afterward positively 
knew, to be our greatest enemy. We, on our 
part, remained all night upon the alert; but 
at daybreak to our surprise and joy we saw the 
Ottawa preparing to depart. By sunrise not 
a man of them was left in the fort; and indeed 
the scene was altogether changed. The inhabi- 
tants, who, while the Ottawa were present, 
had avoided all connection with the English 

traders, now came with congratulations. They 
related that the Ottawa had proposed to 
them that if joined by the Canadians they 
would march and attack the troops which were 
known to be advancing on the fort; and they 
added that it was their refusal which had 
determined the Ottawa to depart. 

At noon three hundred troops of the Sixtieth 
Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant 
Lesslie, marched into the fort; and this arrival 
dissipated all our fears from whatever source 
derived. 37 After a few days detachments were 
sent into the Bay des Puants 38 by which is the 
route to the Mississippi and at the mouth of 

37 The last French commander of Mackinac Beau- 
jeau de Villemonde, brother of him who fell gloriously 
while leading his men against Braddock's doomed army 
in 1755 - abandoned the post in the autumn of 1760, 
and retired by way of Wisconsin to the Illinois country. 
Not until September 28, 1761, did a British detachment 
arrive to -take possession of Mackinac. The leader of 
the English force was Captain Henry Balfour of the 
Eightieth Regiment, better known, perhaps, as Gage's 
Light Infantry. With Balfour, however, was Lieu- 
tenant William Leslie of the Sixtieth Regiment the 
Royal Americans who was left at Mackinac with a 
garrison of twenty-eight men, while Balfour with the 
remainder of his force went on to take possession of the 
remaining French posts in the Upper Country. The 
following year Leslie asked to be "relieved from this 
disagreeable station," but instead the post was rein- 
forced by Captain George Etherington, Leslie remain- 
ing as second in command. Editor. 

38 Modern Green Bay: the post was on the site of the 
modern city of that name. Editor. 


Cratoelg anti &&toetttitre 

the St. Joseph 39 which leads to the Illinois. 
The Indians from all quarters came to pay 
their respects to the commandant; and the 
merchants dispatched their canoes, though 
it was now the middle of September, and 
therefore somewhat late in the season. 

39 Fort St. Joseph stood in the outskirts of modern 
Niles, Michigan, some thirty miles inland from the 
mouth of the river. The old fort site is now covered by 
water, due to the building in recent years of a dam 
across the river at Niles for purposes of power develop- 
ment. Editor. 




THE village of L'Arbre Croche supplies, as 
I have said, the maize, or Indian corn, 
with which the canoes are victualled. This 
species of grain is prepared for use by boiling 
it in a strong lye, after which the husk may be 
easily removed; and it is next mashed and 
dried. In this state it is soft and friable like 
rice. The allowance for each man on the 
voyage is a quart a day; and a bushel with two 
pounds of prepared fat is reckoned to be a 
month's subsistence. No other allowance is 
made of any kind, not even of salt; and bread 
is never thought of. The men, nevertheless, 
are healthy and capable of performing their 
heavy labor. This mode of victualling is 
essential to the trade, which being pursued at 
great distances, and in vessels so small as 
canoes, will not admit of the use of other food. 
If the men were to be supplied with bread 
and pork the canoes could not carry a suffi- 
ciency for six months; and the ordinary 
duration of the voyage is not less than four- 
teen. The difficulty which would belong to an 
attempt to reconcile any other men than Cana- 
dians to this fare seems to secure to them and 
their employers the monopoly of the fur trade. 



The sociable disposition of the commandant 
enabled us to pass the winter at Michili- 
mackinac in a manner as agreeable as cir- 
cumstances would permit. The amusements 
consisted chiefly in shooting, hunting, and 
fishing. The neighboring woods abounded in 
partridges 40 and hares, the latter of which 
is white in winter; and the lake is filled with 
fish, of which the most celebrated are trout, 
whitefish, and sturgeon. 

Trout are taken by making holes in the ice 
in which are set lines and baits. These are 
often left for many days together, and in some 
places at the depth of fifty fathoms; for the 
trout having swallowed the bait, remains fast 
and alive till taken up. This fish, which is 
found of the weight of from ten to sixty pounds 
and upward, constitutes the principal food 
of the inhabitants. When this fails they have 
recourse to maize, but this is very expensive. 
I bought more than a hundred bushels at forty 
livres per bushel. Money is rarely received 
or paid at Michilimackinac, the circulating 
medium consisting in furs and peltries. In 
this exchange a pound of beaver skin is 
reckoned at sixty sols, an otter skin at six 
livres, and marten skins at thirty sols each. 41 

40 In North America there is no partridge; but the 
name is given to more than one species of grouse. The 
birds here intended are red grouse. Author. 

41 After the English conquest of Canada the value of 
the livre was fixed at one shilling Canadian currency. 


This is only one-half of the real value of the 
furs; and it is therefore always agreed to pay 
either in furs at their actual price at the fort, 
or in cash to double the amount, as reckoned 
in furs. 

At the same time that I paid the price which 
I have mentioned for maize I paid at the rate 
of a dollar per pound for the tallow, or pre- 
pared fat to mix with it. The meat itself was 
at the same price. The Jesuit missionary 
killed an ox which he sold by the quarter, 
taking the weight of the meat in beaver skin. 
Beaver skin as just intimated, was worth a 
dollar per pound. 

These high prices of grain and beef led me 
to be very industrious in fishing. I usually set 
twenty lines and visited them daily, and 
often found at every visit fish enough to feed 
a hundred men. Whitefish, which exceed 
the trout as a delicious and nutritive food, are 
here in astonishing numbers. In shape they 
somewhat resemble the shad, but their flavor 
is perhaps above all comparison whatever. 
Those who live on them for months together 
preserve their relish to the end. This cannot 
be said of the trout. 

The whitefish is taken in nets which are set 
under the ice. To do this several holes are 
made in the ice, each at such distance from 
that behind it as that it may be reached under 

Twenty-five sols were equal to one shilling one penny 
sterling. Editor. 



the ice by the end of a pole. A line of sixty 
fathoms in length is thus conveyed from hole 
to hole till it is extended to the length desired. 
This done, the pole is taken out, and with it 
one end of the line, to which the end is then 
fastened. The line being now drawn back by 
an assistant who holds the opposite extremity, 
the net is brought under and a large stone is 
made fast to the sinking line at each end and 
let down to the bottom; and the net is spread 
in the water by lighters on its upper edge, 
sinkers on its lower, in the usual manner. The 
fish, running against the net, entangle their 
gills in the meshes and are thus detained till 
taken up. Whitefish is used as a bait for trout. 
They are much smaller than the trout, but 
usually weigh, at Michilimackinac, from three 
to seven pounds. 

During the whole winter very few Indians 
visited the fort; but two families, one of which 
was that of a chief, had their lodges on a river 
five leagues below us, and occasionally brought 
beaver flesh for sale. 

The chief was warmly attached to the Eng- 
lish. He had been taken prisoner by Sir 
William Johnson at the siege of Fort Niagara, 
and had received from that intelligent officer 
his liberty, the medal usually presented to a 
chief, and the British flag. Won by these 
unexpected acts of kindness, he had returned to 
Michilimackinac full of praises of the English, 
and hoisting his flag over his lodge. This 

latter demonstration of his partiality had 
nearly cost him his life; his lodge was broken 
down and his flag torn to pieces. The pieces 
he carefully gathered up and preserved with 
pious care; and whenever he came to the fort 
he drew them forth and exhibited them. On 
these occasions it grew into a custom to give 
him as much liquor as he said was necessary 
to make him cry over the misfortune of losing 
his flag. The commandant would have given 
hmi another, but he thought that he could not 
accept it without danger. 

The greatest depth of snow throughout the 
season was three feet. On the second day of 
April 'the ice on the lake broke up and the 
navigation was resumed; and we immediately 
began to receive from the Indians around us 
large supplies of wild fowl. 


BEING desirous of visiting the Sault de 
Ste. Marie I left Michilimackinac on the 
fifteenth of May in a canoe. The Sault 
de Ste. Marie is distant from Michilimack- 
inac thirty leagues and lies in the strait which 
separates Lake Huron from Lake Superior. 

Having passed Le Detour, a point of land at 
the entrance of the strait, our course lay among 
numerous islands, some of which are twenty 
miles in length. We ascended the rapid of 
Miscoutinsaki, a spot well adapted for mill 
seats, and above which is the mouth of the 
river of the same name. The lands on the south 
shore of this river are excellent. The lake is 
bordered by meadows, and at a short distance 
back are groves of sugar maple. From this 
river to the Sault de Ste. Marie is one con- 
tinued meadow. 

On the nineteenth I reached the Sault. Here 
was a stockaded fort in which under the French 
government there was kept a small garrison, 
commanded by an officer who was called the 
governor, but was in fact a clerk who managed 
the Indian trade here on government account. 
The houses were four in number, of which 
the first was the governor's, the second the 



interpreter's, and the other two, which were 
the smallest, had been used for barracks. The 
only family was that of M. Cadotte, the inter- 
preter, 42 whose wife was a Chipewa. 

The fort is seated on a beautiful plain of 
about two miles in circumference, and covered 
with luxuriant grass; and within sight are 
the rapids in the strait, distant half a mile. 
The width of the strait, or river, is about 
half a mile. The portage, or carrying-place, 
commences at the fort. The banks are rocky, 
and allow only a narrow footpath over them. 
Canoes, half loaded, ascend on the south side 
and the other half of the load is carried on 
men's shoulders. 

These rapids are beset with rocks of the most 
dangerous description; and yet they are the 
scene of a fishery in which all their dangers are 
braved and mastered with singular expertness. 
They are full of whitefish much larger and more 
excellent than those of Michilimackinac, and 

42 This was Jean Baptiste Cadotte, Sr., who came into 
the Northwest toward the middle of the eighteenth 
century. In accordance with the custom of his time he 
lived with a Chippewa woman, and in 1756 the couple 
were legally married by the Jesuit father at Mackinac. 
Cadotte made Sault Ste. Marie his headquarters, and 
from here pursued the Indian trade in the Lake Su- 
perior region until in 1796, induced by the advance of 
old age, he made over his property to his two sons, Jean 
Baptiste and Michel. Both of these men married Chip- 
pewa women, and both became prominent in the trad- 
ing annals of the Northwest. The elder Cadotte died 
in 1803. Editor. 


Cratoelg anb 

which are found here during the greater part 
of" the season, weighing in general from six 
pounds to fifteen. 

The method of taking them is this: each 
canoe carries two men, one of whom steers 
with a paddle, and the other is provided with a 
pole ten feet in length, and at the end of which 
is affixed a scoop-net. The steersman sets the 
canoe from the eddy of one rock to that of 
another; while the fisherman in the prow, who 
sees through the pellucid element the prey 
of which he is in pursuit, dips his net and 
sometimes brings up at every succeeding dip 
as many as it can contain. The fish are often 
crowded together in the water in great numbers, 
and a skilful fisherman in autumn will take 
five hundred in two hours. 

This fishery is of great moment to the sur- 
rounding Indians, whom it supplies with a 
large proportion of their winter's provision; 
for having taken the fish in the manner de- 
scribed, they cure them by drying in the smoke, 
and lay them up in large quantities. 

There is at present a village of Chipewa of 
fifty warriors seated at this place; but the in- 
habitants reside here during the summer only, 
going westward in the winter to hunt. The 
village was anciently much more populous. 

At the south are also seen a few of the wan- 

dering O'pimittish Ininiwac, literally Men of 

the Woods, otherwise called Wood Indians and 

Gens de Terres a peaceable and inoffensive 


race, but less conversant with some of the arts 
of first necessity than any of their neighbors. 
They have no villages, and their lodges are 
so rudely fashioned as to afford them but 
very inadequate protection against inclement 
skies. The greater part of their year is spent 
in traveling from place to place in search of 
food. The animal on which they chiefly depend 
is the hare. This they take in springes. Of 
the skin they make coverings with much ingen- 
uity, cutting it into narrow strips, and weaving 
these into a cloth of the shape of a blanket, and 
of a quality very warm and agreeable. 

The pleasant situation of the fort, and still 
more the desire of learning the Chipewa 
language, led me to resolve on wintering in it. 
In the family of M. Cadotte no other language 
than the Chipewa was spoken. 

During the summer the weather was some- 
times exceedingly hot. Mosquitoes and black 
flies were so numerous as to be a heavy counter- 
poise to the pleasure of hunting. Pigeons were 
in great plenty; the stream supplied our drink; 
and sickness was unknown. 

In the course of the season a small detach- 
ment of troops under the command of Lieu- 
tenant Jemette tt arrived to garrison the fort. 

43 This was Ensign John Jamet of the Sixtieth Reg- 
iment, who came to Mackinac with Captain Ethering- 
ton in the autumn of 1760. He was the first victim of 
the massacre when Mackinac was taken by the Chip- 
pewa in June, 1763. Editor. 



IN the beginning of October the fish as is 
usual was in great abundance at the Sault; 
and by the fifteenth day of the month I had 
myself taken upward of five hundred. These 
I caused to be dried in the customary manner 
by suspending them in pairs, head downward, 
on long poles laid horizontally for that pur- 
pose and supported by two stakes driven 
into the ground at either end. The fish 
are frozen the first night after they are 
taken; and by the aid of the severe cold of 
the winter they are thus preserved in a state 
perfectly fit for use even till the month of 

Others were not less successful than myself; 
and several canoe-loads of fish were exported 
to Michilimackinac, our commanding officer 
being unable to believe that his troops would 
have need to live on fish during the winter; 
when, as he flattered himself, a regular supply 
of venison and other food would reach the 
garrison through the means of the Indians, 
whose services he proposed to purchase out of 
the large funds of liquor which were subject 
to his orders. 


But all these calculations were defeated by 
the arrival of a very serious misfortune. At 
one o'clock in the morning of the twenty- 
second day of December ** I was awakened by 
an alarm of fire, which was actually raging 
in the houses of the commandant and others. 
On arriving at the commandant 's I found that 
this officer was still within side; and being 
acquainted with the window of the room in 
which he slept I procured it to be broken in in 
time for his escape. I was also so fortunate as 
to save a small quantity of gunpowder only a 
few moments before the fire reached all the 
remainder. A part of the stockade, all the 
houses, M. Cadotte's alone excepted, all the 
provisions of the troops, and a considerable 
part of our fish were burnt. 

On consultation the next day it was agreed 
that the only means which remained at this 
late period of the season to preserve the garri- 
son from famine was that of sending it back to 
Michilimackinac. This was itself an under- 
taking of some peril; for, had the ice prevented 
their reaching the place of destination, starving 
would have become as inevitable elsewhere 
as it threatened to be at the Sault de Ste. 
Marie. The soldiers embarked and happily 
reached Michilimackinac on the thirty-first 
day of the month. On the very next morning 
the navigation was wholly closed. 

"The fort was destroyed December 10, 1762. 



The commandant and all the rest now lived 
in one small house, subsisting only by hunting 
and fishing. The woods afforded us some 
hares and partridges, and we took large trout 
with the spear. In order to spear trout under 
the ice, holes being first cut of two yards in 
circumference, cabins of about two feet in 
height are built over them of small branches of 
trees; and these are further covered with skins 
so as wholly to exclude the light. The design 
and result of this contrivance is to render it 
practicable to discern objects in the water at a 
very considerable depth; for the reflection of 
light from the water gives that element an 
opaque appearance and hides all objects from 
the eye at a small distance beneath its surface. 
A spear head of iron is fastened on a pole of 
about ten feet in length. This instrument is 
lowered into the water; and the fisherman, lying 
upon his belly, with his head under the cabin 
or cover, and therefore over the hole, lets down 
the figure of a fish in wood and filled with lead. 
Round the middle of the fish is tied a small 
packthread; and when at the depth of ten 
fathoms where it is intended to be employed, it 
is made, by drawing the string and by the 
simultaneous pressure of the water, to move 
forward after the manner of a real fish. Trout 
and other large fish, deceived by its resem- 
blance, spring toward it to seize it; but by a dex- 
terous jerk of the string it is instantly taken 
out of their reach. The decoy is now drawn 



nearer to the surface, and the fish takes some 
time to renew the attack, during which the 
spear is raised and held conveniently for strik- 
ing. On the return of* the fish the spear is 
plunged into its back; and, the spear being 
,barbed, it is easily drawn out of the water. 
So completely do the rays of the light pervade 
the element that in three fathoms of water I have 
often seen the shadows of the fish on the bot- 
tom, following them as they moved; and this 
when the ice itself was two feet in thickness. 

By these pursuits and others of a similar 
kind we supported ourselves for two months, 
that is until the twentieth of February, when 
we imagined the lake to be frozen and Michi- 
limackinac therefore accessible; and the com- 
mandant wishing to go to that fort, M. Ca- 
dotte, myself, two Canadians, and two Indians, 
agreed to accompany him. The Canadians 
and Indians were loaded with some parched 
maize, some fish, a few pieces of scorched pork, 
which had been saved from the fire, and a 
few loaves of bread made of flour which was 
also partly burnt. 

We walked on snowshoes, a mode of travel- 
ing sufficiently fatiguing to myself, but of 
which the commandant had had no previous 
experience whatever. In consequence our 
progress was slow, wearisome, and disastrous. 
On the seventh day of our march we had only 
reached Point du Detour which lies half way 
between the Sault and Michilimackinac; and 

Cratoelg anb 2tiitocnturc 

here to our mortification and dismay we found 
the lake still open and the ice drifting. Our 
provisions, too, on examination, were found to 
be nearly expended; and nothing remained for 
us to do but to send back the Canadians and 
Indians, whose motions would be swift, for an 
additional supply. 

In their absence the commandant, M. Ca- 
dotte, and myself, three persons in number, 
were left with about two pounds of pork and 
three of bread for our subsistence during the 
three days and perhaps four, which they would 
require for a journey of ninety miles. Being 
appointed to act the part of commissary, I 
divided the provisions into four parts, one for 
each day; and to our great happiness at ten 
o'clock on the fourth day our faithful servants 
returned. Early in the morning of the fifth we 
left our encampment and proceeded. The 
weather this day was exceedingly cold. 

We had only advanced two leagues when the 
commandant found it almost wholly impos- 
sible to go further, his feet being blistered by 
the cords of the snowshoes. On this account 
we made short marches for three days; and 
this loss of time threatened us anew with 
famine. We were now too far from the Sault to 
send back for a supply; and it was therefore 
determined that myself, accompanied by *one 
of the Canadians, should go as speedily as 
possible to Michilimackinac, and there inform 
the commanding officer of the situation of 



those behind. Accordingly the next morning 
at break of day I left my fellow sufferers, and at 
three o'clock in the afternoon had the pleasure 
of entering the fort, whence a party was sent 
the next morning with provisions. This -party 
returned on the third day, bringing with it 
Lieutenant Jemette and the rest, in safety. 
Major Etherington, of the Sixtieth Regiment, 
who had arrived in the preceding autumn, now 
commanded at the fort. 

I remained at Michilimackinac until the 
tenth of March, on which day I set out on my 
return to the Sault, taking the route of the 
Bay of Boutchitaouy 45 which the ice had now 
rendered practicable. From the bottom of the 
bay the course lies in a direct line through the 
woods, a journey I performed in two days, 
though I was now troubled with a disorder, 
called the snowshoe evil, proceeding from an 
unusual strain on the tendons of the leg, 
occasioned by the weight of the snowshoe and 
which brings on inflammation. The remedy pre- 
scribed in the country is that of laying a piece 
of lighted touchwood on the part and leaving it 
there till the flesh is burnt to the nerve; but 
this experiment, though I had frequently seen 
it attended with success in others, I did not 
think proper to make upon myself. 

45 Modern St. Martin Bay, which indents the Upper 
Peninsula of Michigan due north of Mackinac Island. 



The lands between the Bay of Boutchitaouy 
and the Sault are generally swampy, excepting 
so much of them as compose a ridge, or 
mountain, running east and west, and which 
is rocky and covered with the rock or sugar 
maple, or sugar wood. 46 The season for making 
maple sugar was now at hand; and shortly 
after my arrival at the Sault I removed with 
the other inhabitants to the place at which we 
were to perform the manufacture. 

A certain part of the maple woods having 
been chosen, and which was distant about 
three miles from the fort, a house twenty feet 
long and fourteen broad was begun in the 
morning, and before night made fit for the 
comfortable reception of eight persons and 
their baggage. It was open at top, had a door 
at each end, and a fireplace in the middle run- 
ning the whole length. 

The next day was employed in gathering 
the bark of white birch trees with which to 
make vessels to catch the wine or sap. The 
trees were now cut or tapped, and spouts or 
ducts introduced into the wound. The bark 
vessels were placed under the ducts; and as 
they filled, the liquor was taken out in buckets 
and conveyed into reservoirs or vats of moose 
skin, each vat containing a hundred gallons. 
From these we supplied the boilers, of which 
we had twelve of from twelve to twenty gal- 
lons each, with fires constantly under them 

46 Acer saccharinum. Author. 

day and night. While the women collected 
the sap, boiled it, and completed the sugar, the 
men were not less busy in cutting wood, mak- 
ing fires, and in hunting and fishing in part of 
our supply of food. 

The earlier part of the spring is that best 
adapted to making maple sugar. The sap 
runs only in the day; and it will not run unless 
there has been a frost the night before. When 
in the morning there is a clear sun and the night 
has left ice of the thickness of a dollar the 
greatest quantity is produced. 

On the twenty-fifth of April our labor ended, 
and we returned to the fort, carrying with 
us as we found by the scales, sixteen hundred- 
weight of sugar. We had besides thirty-six 
gallons of syrup; and during our stay in the 
woods we certainly consumed three hundred- 
weight. Though, as I have said, we hunted 
and fished, yet sugar was our principal food 
during the whole month of April. I have 
known Indians to live wholly upon the same 
and become fat. 

On the day of our return to the fort there 
arrived an English gentleman, Sir Robert 
D overs, 47 on a voyage of curiosity. I accom- 
panied this gentleman on his return to Michi- 
limackinac, which we reached on the twen- 
tieth of May. My intention was to remain 

47 Sir Robert Davers of Suffolk, England, came to 
America, apparently in the spring of 1761 on a tour of 
observation. He was at Detroit in the spring of 1762, 



there till after my clerks should have come in 
from the interior, and then to go back to the 
Sault de Ste. Marie. 

In the beginning of May the geese and 
ducks made their appearance, in their progress 

whence he left for a tour of the' Upper Lakes. He was 
again at Detroit during the winter of 1762-63, and in 
May of the latter year was slain, the first victim of 
Pontiac's uprising. His body was eaten by the Indians. 
It is apparent that Henry is in error as to the date 
here given. Editor. 

Chapter 8 


T "T THEN I reached Michilimackinac I 
y y found several other traders who had 
arrived before me from different parts of 
the country, and who in general declared the 
dispositions of the Indians to be hostile to the 
English, and even apprehended some attack. 
M. Laurent Ducharme 48 distinctly informed 
Major Etherington that a plan was absolutely 
conceived for destroying him, his garrison and 
all the English in the upper country; but the 
commandant, believing this and other reports 
to be without foundation, proceeding only 
from idle or ill-disposed persons, and of 
a tendency to do mischief, expressed much 
displeasure against M. Ducharme, and threat- 
ened to send the next person who should 
bring a story of the same kind a prisoner to 

The garrison at this time consisted of ninety 
privates, two subalterns and the commandant; 
and the English merchants at the fort were 

48 Laurent Ducharme was a resident of Mackinac at 
least as early as 1758. At the time of the American 
Revolution he seems to have been stationed at Mil- 
waukee. A cousin, Jean Marie Ducharme, was a prom- 
inent fur trader in the Northwest in this period. 


Crafcelg and &Dtornturc$ 

four in number. 49 Thus strong, few entertained 
anxiety concerning the Indians, who had no 
weapons but small arms. 

Meanwhile the Indians from every quarter 
were daily assembling in unusual numbers, 
but with every appearance of friendship, 
frequenting the fort, and disposing of their 
peltries in such a manner as to dissipate 
almost every one's fears. For myself, on one 
occasion I took the liberty of observing to 
Major Etherington that in my judgment no 
confidence ought to be placed in them, and 
that I was informed no less than four hundred 
lay around the fort. 

In return the Major only rallied me on my 
timidity; and it is to be confessed that if this 
officer neglected admonition on his part, so did 
I on mine. Shortly after my first arrival at 
Michilimackinac in the preceding year a 
Chipewa named Wawatam began to come 
often to my house, betraying in his demeanor 
strong marks of personal regard. After this 
had continued for some time he came on a 
certain day, bringing with him his whole 

49 Here, as often, Henry's figures are erroneous. In- 
stead of ninety, the garrison numbered thirty-five. 
Francis Parkman suggests that Henry meant to include 
"all the inhabitants of the fort, both soldiers and 
Canadians" in his enumeration; but his language 
plainly does not admit this interpretation. The four 
merchants were Solomon, Bostwick, Henry, and one 
Tracy. Of the latter, who was killed in the massacre, 
I have learned no more than Henry himself sets forth. 


family, and at the same time a large present, 
consisting of skins, sugar, and dried meat. 
Having laid these in a heap he commenced a 
speech in which he informed me that some 
years before he had observed a fast, devoting 
himself according to the custom of his nation 
to solitude and to the mortification of his body 
in the hope to obtain from the Great Spirit 
protection through all his days; that on this 
occasion he had dreamed of adopting an 
Englishman as his son, brother, and friend; 
that from the moment in which he first beheld 
me, he had recognized me as the person whom 
the Great Spirit had been pleased to point out 
to him for a brother; that he hoped that 
I would not refuse his present, and that he 
should forever regard me as one of his family. 

I could do no otherwise than accept the 
present and declare my willingness to have so 
good a man as this appeared to be for my 
friend and brother. I offered a present in 
return for that which I had received, which 
Wawatam accepted, and then thanking me for 
the favor which he said that I had rendered 
him, he left me and soon after set out on his 
winter's hunt. 

Twelve months had now elapsed since the 
occurrence of this incident, and I had almost 
forgotten the person of my brother, when on 
the second day of June, Wawatam came again 
to my house in a temper of mind visibly 
melancholy and thoughtful. He told me that 



he had just returned from his wintering 
ground, and I asked after his health; but 
without answering my question he went on to 
say that he was very sorry to find me returned 
from the Sault ; that he had intended to go to 
that place himself immediately after his 
arrival at Michilimackinac; and that he wished 
me to go there, along with him and his family, 
the next morning. To all this he joined an 
inquiry whether or not the commandant had 
heard bad news, adding that during the winter 
he had himself been frequently disturbed with 
the noise of evil birds; and further suggesting 
that there were numerous Indians near the 
fort, many of whom had never shown themselves 
within it. Wawatam was about forty-five 
years of age, of an excellent character among 
his nation, and a chief. 

Referring much of what I heard to the 
peculiarities of the Indian character, I did not 
pay all the attention which they will be found 
to have deserved to the entreaties and remarks / 
of my visitor. I answered that I could not 
think of going to the Sault so soon as the next 
morning, but would follow him there after the 
arrival of my clerks. Finding himself unable 
to prevail with me he withdrew for that day; 
but early the next morning he came again, 
bringing with him his wife and a present of 
dried meat. At this interview, after stating 
that he had several packs of beaver for which 
he intended to deal with me, he expressed 


a second time his apprehensions from the 
numerous Indians who were round the fort, 
and earnestly pressed me to consent to an im- 
mediate departure for the Sault. As a reason 
for this particular request he assured me that 
all the Indians proposed to come in a body 
that day to the fort to demand liquor of the 
commandant, and that he wished me to be 
gone before they should grow intoxicated. 

I had made, at the period to which I am now 
referring, so much progress in the language in 
which Wawatam addressed me as to be able 
to hold an ordinary conversation in it; but the 
Indian manner of speech is so extravagantly 
figurative that it is only for a very perfect 
master to follow and comprehend it entirely. 
Had I been further advanced in this respect 
I think that I should have gathered so much 
information from this my friendly monitor as 
would have put me into possession of the de- 
sign of the enemy, and enabled me to save as 
well others as myself; as it was, it unfortunately 
happened that I turned a deaf ear to every- 
thing, leaving Wawatam and his wife, after 
long and patient, but ineffectual efforts, to 
depart alone with dejected countenances, and 
not before they had each let fall some tears. 

In the course of the same day I observed 
that the Indians came in great numbers into 
the fort, purchasing tomahawks (small axes of 
one pound weight) and frequently desiring to 
see silver arm bands and other valuable orna- 



ments, of which I had a large quantity for 
sale. These ornaments, however, they in no 
instance purchased; but after turning them 
over, left them, saying that they would call 
again the next day. Their motive, as it after- 
ward appeared, was no other than the very 
artful one of discovering, by requesting to see 
them, the particular places of their deposit 
so that they might lay their hands on them in 
the moment of pillage with the greater cer- 
tainty and dispatch. 

At night I turned in my mind the visits 
of Wawatam; but though they were calculated 
to excite uneasiness nothing induced me to be- 
lieve that serious mischief was at hand. The 
next day being the fourth of June was the 
King's birthday. 50 

60 Contemporary documents show that the massacre 
occurred on June 2 instead of June 4. See letters of 
Captain Etherington in Wis. Hist. Colls., VII, 162-63, 
and XVIII, 253-54. Editor. 



THE morning was sultry. A Chipewa 
came to tell me that his nation was going 
to play at baggatiway with the Sacs or 
Saakies, another Indian nation, for a high wager. 
He invited me to witness the sport, adding that 
the commandant was to be there, and would 
bet on the side of the Chipewa. In conse- 
quence of this information I went to the com- 
mandant and expostulated with him a little, 
representing that the Indians might possibly 
have some sinister end in view; but the com- 
mandant only smiled at my suspicions. 

Baggatiway, called by the Canadians le jeu 
de la crosse, is played with a bat and ball. The 
bat is about four feet in length, curved, and 
terminating in a sort of racket. Two posts are 
planted in the ground at a considerable distance 
from each other, as a mile or more. Each party 
has its post, and the game consists in throwing 
the ball up to the post of the adversary. The 
ball, at the beginning, is placed in the middle 
of the course and each party endeavors as 
well to throw the ball out of the direction of 
its own post as into that of the adversary's. 

I did not go myself to see the match which 
was now to be played without the fort, because 



there being a canoe prepared to depart on the 
following day for Montreal I employed myself 
in writing letters to my friends; and even when 
a fellow trader, Mr. Tracy, happened to call 
upon me, saying that anotner canoe had just 
arrived from Detroit, and proposing that I 
should go with him to the beach to inquire the 
news, it so happened that I still remained to 
finish my letters, promising to follow Mr. Tracy 
in the course of a few minutes. Mr. Tracy 
had not gone more than twenty paces from my 
door when I heard an Indian war cry and a 
noise of general confusion. 

Going instantly to my window I saw a crowd 
of Indians within the fort furiously cutting 
down and scalping every Englishman they 
found. In particular I witnessed the fate of 
Lieutenant Jemette. 

I had in the room in which I was a fowling 
piece, loaded with swan-shot. This I imme- 
diately seized and held it for a few minutes, 
waiting to hear the drum beat to arms. In this 
dreadful interval I saw several of my country- 
men fall, and more than one struggling be- 
tween the knees of an Indian, who, holding 
him in -this manner, scalped him while yet 

At length, disappointed in the hope of seeing 
resistance made to the enemy, and sensible, of 
course, that no effort of my own unassisted 
arm could avail against four hundred Indians, 
I thought only of seeking shelter. Amid the 



slaughter which was raging I observed many 
of the Canadian inhabitants of the fort calmly 
looking on, neither opposing the Indians, nor 
suffering injury; and from this circumstance I 
conceived a hope of finding security in their 

Between the yard door of my own house and 
that of M. Langlade, my next neighbor, 51 

51 This was Charles Langlade, one of the most re- 
markable men in the history of the Northwest. Born 
at Mackinac in 1729 of a French father and a native 
mother, he was bred to war from childhood, and is said 
to have participated in ninety-nine battles and skir- 
mishes. In 1752 Langlade led a band of northwestern 
Indians in the descent upon the English at Pickawillany 
and there struck what was virtually the first blow in 
the Seven Years' War. Three years later he led his 
northern tribesmen to the overthrow of General Brad- 
dock's army, and there is strong reason for thinking 
that it was Langlade who planned this affair. At the 
siege of Quebec in 1759, his quick eye caught the Eng- 
lish army in a position where an attack would have 
proved fatal to it, and he begged his French superiors 
for the men necessary to make it. But Langlade was a 
militiaman and a halfbreed, and the regular officers 
gave no heed to his appeal; the opportunity passed 
unutilized; Wolfe took the city, and New France be- 
came a memory. When Montreal surrendered to Gen- 
eral Amherst in September; 1760, Beaujeau, at Mack- 
inac, departed for the Illinois in advance of the coming 
of the English troops, leaving Langlade in charge, with 
such authority as he might be able to wield, and he it 
was who turned the place over to Captain Balfour a 
year later. He seems loyally to have accepted the con- 
sequences of French defeat, and for the remainder of 
his active career was a partisan of Great Britain. After 
the massacre of 1763, Captain Etherington authorized 



there was only a low fence, over which I easily 
climbed. At my entrance I found the whole 
family at the windows, gazing at the scene of 
blood before them. I addressed myself im- 
mediately to M. Langlade, begging that he 
would put me into some place of safety until 
the heat of the affair should be over; an act 
of charity by which he might perhaps pre- 
serve me from the general massacre; but while 
I uttered my petition M. Langlade, who had 
looked for a moment at me, turned again to 
the window, shrugging his shoulders and in- 
timating that he could do nothing for me: 
"Que voudriez-vous que j'en ferais?" 

This was a moment for despair; but the next 
a Pani woman, 52 a slave of M. Langlade's, 
beckoned me to follow her. She brought me 
to a door which she opened, desiring me to 
enter, and telling me that it led to the garret, 

Langlade to assume charge of affairs at Mackinac. 
Soon after the Pontiac War he moved to Green Bay, 
where he lived until his death in the year 1800. In the 
Revolution he was a staunch upholder of British in- 
terests, leading his red followers repeatedly against the 
Americans. Editor. 

62 The Panics are an Indian nation of the south. 

This is quite true, but the term pani as here used 
meant simply an Indian slave, without regard to his 
tribal origin. It is a curious fact that as in Europe the 
word slave, originally a national name, was degraded to 
its present significance of bondman, so among the red 
men of North America the name of an Indian tribe 
came to have a like significance. Editor. 


where I must go and conceal myself. I joy- 
fully obeyed her directions; and she, having 
followed me up to the garret door, locked it 
after me and with great presence of mind 
took away the key. 

This shelter obtained, if shelter I could hope 
to find it, I was naturally anxious to know 
what might still be passing without. Through 
an aperture which afforded me a view of the 
area of the fort I beheld, in shapes the foulest 
and most terrible, the ferocious triumphs of 
barbarian conquerors. The dead were scalped 
and mangled; the dying were writhing and 
shrieking under the unsatiated knife and 
tomahawk; and from the bodies of some, ripped 
open, their butchers were drinking the blood, 
scooped up in the hollow of joined hands and 
quaffed amid shouts of rage and victory. I was 
shaken not only with horror, but with fear. 
The sufferings which I witnessed I seemed 
on the point of experiencing. No long time 
elapsed before every one being destroyed who 
could be found, there was a general cry of 
" All is finished! " At the same instant I heard 
some of the Indians enter the house in which 
I was. 

The garret was separated from the room 
below only by a layer of single boards, at once 
the flooring of the one and the ceiling of the 
other. I could therefore hear everything that 
passed; and the Indians no sooner came in than 
they inquired whether or not any Englishman 


were in the house. M. Langlade replied that 
he could not say he did not know of any 
answers in which he did not exceed the truth, 
for the Pani woman had not only hidden me 
by stealth, but kept my secret and her own. 
M. Langlade was therefore, as I presume, as far 
from a wish to destroy me as he was careless 
about saving me, when he added to these 
answers that they might examine for them- 
selves, and would soon be satisfied as to the 
object of their question. Saying this, he 
brought them to the garret door. 53 

63 It seems apparent that Henry was in no position 
to estimate properly the motives which actuated the 
conduct of Langlade. He possessed great influence over 
these tribesmen, whom he had often led to war against 
the English; although he had made his peace with the 
latter, his red followers had not done so, as Henry's 
own account sufficiently shows. Even today in civilized 
America a frenzied mob intent on shedding blood will 
frequently ignore the appeals for peace and mercy made 
to it by a sheriff or other constituted authority. In 
Indian warfare mercy to the conquered was a thing un- 
thought of. Thus Samuel Hearne, pleading with his 
Indian friends to spare the life of an Eskimo girl, was 
answered with ridicule and contempt. John Kinzie 
possessed influence enough with the Indians to pass un- 
scathed, with all his family, through the Fort Dearborn 
massacre, but he had no influence to save the women 
and children, his neighbors, who were slaughtered in 
his presence. Captain Etherington testifies that Lang- 
lade was "very instrumental" in saving his own life 
and those of the soldiers after the massacre. It seems 
reasonable to conclude that he recognized the futility 
of any resistance to the Indians, as Henry himself had 
done a few minutes before; and that under the cir- 


The state of my mind will be imagined. 
Arrived at the door some delay was occasioned 
by the absence of the key and a few moments 
were thus allowed me in which to look around 
for a hiding place. In one corner of the garret 
was a heap of those vessels of birch bark used 
in maple sugar making as I have recently 

The door was unlocked, and opening, and 
the Indians ascending the stairs, before I had 
completely crept into a small opening, which 
presented itself at one end of the heap. An 
instant after four Indians entered the room, 
all armed with tomahawks, and all besmeared 
with blood upon every part of their bodies. 

The die appeared to be cast. I could scarcely 
breathe; but I thought that the throbbing of 
my heart occasioned a noise loud enough to 
betray me. The Indians walked in every 
direction about the garret, and one of them ap- 
proached me so closely that at a particular 
moment, had he put forth his hand, he must 
have touched me. Still I remained undiscov- 
ered, a circumstance to which the dark color 
of my clothes and the want of light in a room 
which had no window, and in the corner in 
which I was, must have contributed. In a word, 
after taking several turns in the room, during 
which they told M. Langlade how many they 
had killed and how many scalps they had 

cumstances the course he adopted was the wisest one 
open to him. Editor. 


and &&toentureg 

taken, they returned down stairs, and I with 
sensations not to be expressed, heard the door, 
which was the barrier between me and my 
fate, locked for the second time. 

There was a feather bed on the floor, and 
on this, exhausted as I was by the agitation of 
my mind, I threw myself down and fell asleep. 
In this state I remained till the dusk of the 
evening, when I was awakened by a second 
opening of the door. The person that now 
entered was M. Langlade's wife, who was much 
surprised at finding me, but advised me not to 
be uneasy, observing that the Indians had 
killed most of the English, but that she hoped I 
might myself escape. A shower of rain having 
begun to fall, she had come to stop a hole in the 
roof. On her going away, I begged her to 
send me a little water to drink, which she did. 

As night was now advancing I continued to 
lie on the bed, ruminating on my condition, 
but unable to discover a resource from which I 
could hope for life. A flight to Detroit had no 
probable chance of success. The distance 
from Michilimackinac was four hundred miles; 
I was without provisions; and the whole 
length of the road lay through Indian countries, 
countries of an enemy in arms, where the first 
man whom I should meet would kill me. To 
stay where I was threatened nearly the same 
issue. As before, fatigue of mind, and not 
tranquillity, suspended my cares and procured 
me further sleep. 




rTT^HE game of baggatiway, as from the 
description above will have been per- 
ceived, is necessarily attended with much 
violence and noise. In the ardor of contest the 
ball, as has been suggested, if it cannot be 
thrown to the goal desired, is struck in any 
direction by which it can be diverted from that 
designed by the adversary. At such a moment, 
therefore, nothing could be less liable to excite 
premature alarm than that the ball should be 
tossed over the pickets of the fort, nor that 
having fallen there, it should be followed on 
the instant by all engaged in the game, as well 
the one party as the other, all eager, all strug- 
gling, all shouting, all in the unrestrained pur- 
suit of a rude athletic exercise. Nothing could 
be less fitted to excite premature alarm 
nothing, therefore, could be more happily 
devised, under the circumstances, than a strat- 
agem like this; and this was in fact the 
stratagem which the Indians had employed, 
by which they had obtained possession of the 
fort, and by which they had been enabled to 
slaughter and subdue its garrison and such of 
its other inhabitants as they pleased. To be 
still more certain of success they had prevailed 

Cratoelg anti &trtmtturcis? 

upon as many as they could by a pretext the 
least liable to suspicion to come voluntarily 
without the pickets, and particularly the com- 
mandant and garrison themselves. 

The respite which sleep afforded me during 
the night was put an end to by the return of 
morning. I was again on the rack of appre- 
hension. At sunrise I heard the family stirring, 
and presently after, Indian voices informing 
M. Langlade they had not found my hapless 
self among the dead, and that they supposed 
me to be somewhere concealed. M. Lang- 
lade appeared from what followed to be by 
this time acquainted with the place of my re- 
treat, of which no doubt he had been informed 
by his wife. The poor woman, as soon as 
the Indians mentioned me, declared to her 
husband in the French tongue that he should 
no longer keep me in his house, but deliver 
me up to my pursuers, giving as a reason for 
this measure that should the Indians discover 
his instrumentality in my concealment, they 
might revenge it on her children, and that 
it was better that I should die than they. 
M. Langlade resisted at first this sentence of 
his wife's; but soon suffered her to prevail, 
informing the Indians that he had been told 
I was in his house, that I had come there 
without his knowledge, and that he would put 
me into their hands. This was no sooner ex- 
pressed than he began to ascend the stairs, the 
Indians following upon his heels. 


I now resigned myself to the fate with which 
I was menaced; and regarding every attempt 
at concealment as vain, I arose from the bed 
and presented myself full in view to the Indians 
who were entering the room. They were all 
in a state of intoxication, and entirely naked, 
except about the middle. One of them, named 
Wenniway, whom I had previously known, 
and who was upward of six feet in height, had 
.his entire face and body covered with charcoal 
and grease, only that a white spot of two inches 
in diameter encircled either eye. This man, 
walking up to me, seized me with one hand by 
the collar of the coat, while in the other he held 
a large carving knife, as if to plunge it into my 
breast; his eyes, meanwhile, were fixed stead- 
fastly on mine. At length, after some seconds 
of the most anxious suspense, he dropped his 
arm, saying, "I won't kill you!" To this he 
added that he had been frequently engaged in 
wars against the English, and had brought 
away many scalps; that on a certain occasion 
he had lost a brother whose name was Musini- 
gon, and that I should be called after him. 

A reprieve upon any terms placed me among 
the living, and gave me back the sustaining 
voice of hope; but Wenniway ordered me down- 
stairs, and there informing me that I was to be 
taken to his cabin, where, and indeed every- 
where else, the Indians were all mad with 
liquor, death again was threatened, and not as 
possible only, but as certain. I mentioned my 


fears on this subject to M. Langlade, begging 
him to represent the danger to my master. 
M. Langlade in this instance did not withhold 
his compassion, and Wenniway immediately 
consented that I should remain where I was 
until he found another opportunity to take me 

Thus far secure I reascended my garret 
stairs in order to place myself the furthest 
possible out of the reach of insult from drunken 
Indians; but I had not remained there more 
than an hour, when I was called to the room 
below in which was an Indian who said that 
I must go with him out of the fort, Wenniway 
having sent him to fetch me. This man, as 
well as Wenniway himself, I had seen before. 
In the preceding year I had allowed him to 
take goods on credit, for which he was still in 
my debt; and some short time previous to the 
surprise of the fort he had said upon my up- 
braiding him with want of honesty that he 
would pay me before long. This speech now 
came fresh into my memory and led me to 
suspect that the fellow had formed a design 
against my life. I communicated the suspicion 
to M. Langlade; but he gave for answer that 
I was not now my own master, and must do as 
I was ordered. 

The Indian on his part directed that before 
I left the house I should undress myself, de- 
claring that my coat and shirt would become 
him better than they did me. His pleasure in 


this respect being complied with, no other 
alternative was left me than either to go out 
naked, or to put on the clothes of the Indian, 
which he freely gave me in exchange. His 
motive for thus stripping me of my own ap- 
parel was no other as I afterward learned than 
this, that it might not be stained with blood 
when he should kill me. 

I was now told to proceed; and my driver 
followed me close until I had passed the gate 
of the fort, when I turned toward the spot 
where I knew the Indians to be encamped. 
This, however, did not suit the purpose of my 
enemy, who seized me by the arm and drew me 
violently in the opposite direction to the dis- 
tance of fifty yards above the fort. Here, 
finding that I was approaching the bushes and 
sand hills, I determined to proceed no farther, 
but told the Indian that I believed he meant 
to murder me, and that if so he might as well 
strike where I was as at any greater distance. 
He replied with coolness that my suspicions 
were just, and that he meant to pay me in 
this manner for my goods. At the same time 
he produced a knife and held me in a position 
to receive the intended blow. Both this and 
that which followed were necessarily the affair 
of a moment. By some effort, too sudden and 
too little dependent on thought to be ex- 
plained or remembered, I was enabled to arrest 
his arm and give him a sudden push by which I 
turned him from me and released myself from 

anti tobenturc$ 

his grasp. This was no sooner done than I ran 
toward the fort with all the swiftness in my 
power, the Indian following me, and I expect- 
ing every moment to feel his knife. I succeeded 
in my flight; and on entering the fort I saw 
Wenniway standing in the midst of the area, 
and to him I hastened for protection. Wenni- 
way desired the Indian to desist; but the latter 
pursued me round him, making several strokes 
at me with his knife, and foaming at the mouth 
with rage at the repeated failure of his pur- 
pose. At length Wenniway drew near to 
M. Langlade's house; and, the door being 
open, I ran into it. The Indian followed me; 
but on my entering the house he voluntarily 
abandoned the pursuit. 

Preserved so often and so unexpectedly as it 
had now been my lot to be, I returned to my 
garret with a strong inclination to believe that 
through the will of an overruling power no 
Indian enemy could do me hurt; but new trials, 
as I believed, were at hand when at ten o'clock 
in the evening I was roused from sleep and 
once more desired to descend the stairs. Not 
less, however, to my satisfaction than sur- 
prise, I was summoned only to meet Major 
Etherington, Mr. Bostwick, and Lieutenant 
Lesslie, who were in the room below. 

These gentlemen had been taken prisoners 
while looking at the game without the fort and 
immediately stripped of all their clothes. They 
were now sent into the fort under the charge 


of Canadians, because, the Indians having re- 
solved on getting drunk, the chiefs were 
apprehensive that they would be murdered 
if they continued in the camp. Lieutenant 
Jemette and seventy soldiers had been killed; 
and but twenty Englishmen, including sol- 
diers, were still alive. 54 These were all within 
the fort, together with nearly three hundred 
Canadians. 56 

These being our numbers, myself and 
others proposed to Major Etherington to make 
an effort for regaining possession of the fort 
and maintaining it against the Indians. The 
Jesuit missionary was consulted on the project; 
but he discouraged us by his representations, 
not only of the merciless treatment which we 
must expect from the Indians should they 
regain their superiority, but of the little 
dependence which was to be placed upon our 
Canadian auxiliaries. Thus the fort and 
prisoners remained in the hands of the Indians, 
though through the whole night the prisoners 
and whites were in actual possession, and they 
were without the gates. 

That whole night, or the greater part of it, 
was passed in mutual condolence* and my 
fellow prisoners shared my garret. In the 

54 Captain Etherington, in a letter to his superior 
officer at Detroit, June 12, 1763, states that sixteen 
soldiers and the trader Tracy were killed in the mas- 
sacre, and two soldiers wounded; and that of those taken 
prisoners on June 2, five had since been killed. Editor. 

55 Belonging to the canoes, etc. Author. 


morning, being again called down, I found my 
master, Wenniway, and was desired to follow 
him. He led me to a small house within the 
fort, where in a narrow room and almost dark 
I found Mr. Ezekiel Solomons, an Englishman 
from Detroit, and a soldier, all prisoners. 
With these I remained in painful suspense 
as to the scene that was next to present 
itself till ten o'clock in the forenoon, when 
an Indian arrived, and presently marched us to 
the lakeside where a canoe appeared ready 
for departure, and in which we found that we 
were to embark. 

Our voyage, full of doubt as it was, would 
have commenced immediately, but that one 
of the Indians who was to be of the party was 
absent. His arrival was to be waited for; and 
this occasioned a very long delay during which 
we were exposed to a keen northeast wind. 
An old shirt was all that covered me; I suf- 
fered much from the cold; and in this extremity 
M. Langlade coming down to the beach, I 
asked him for a blanket, promising if I lived to 
pay him for it at any price he pleased; but the 
answer I received was this, that he could let 
me have no blanket unless there were some one 
to be security for the payment. For myself, 
he observed, I had no longer any property in 
that country. I had no more to say to M. 
Langlade; but presently seeing another Cana- 
dian, named John Cuchoise, I addressed to him 
a similar request and was not refused. Naked 


as I was, and rigorous as was the weather, but 
for the blanket I must have perished. At noon 
our party was all collected, the prisoners all 
embarked, and we steered for the Isles du 
Castor 56 in Lake Michigan. 

56 The Beaver Islands in northern Lake Michigan, 
almost due west of Mackinac. They are chiefly notable 
in history as the seat of the Mormon kingdom of 
St. James, founded about 1850 by James Jesse Strang. 
Big Beaver Island, some twelve or fifteen miles long, 
has at its northern end an excellent harbor, long known 
to the sailors by the name of Paradise Bay. Here 
Strang established his capital, named in his honor, 
St. James. Around the islands are today the best fish- 
ing grounds on Lake Michigan; and St. James, a village 
of several hundred people, is chiefly supported by this 
industry. Editor. 



F | ^HE soldier who was our companion in 
misfortune was made fast to a bar of the 
canoe by a rope tied round his neck, as is 
the manner of the Indians in transporting 
their prisoners. The rest were left unconfined; 
but a paddle was put into each of our hands 
and we were made to use it. The Indians in 
the canoe were seven in number, the prisoners 
four. I had left, as it will be recollected, 
Major Etherington, Lieutenant Lesslie, and 
Mr. Bostwick at M. Langlade's, and was now 
joined in misery with Mr. Ezekiel Solomons, 
the soldier, and the Englishman who had newly 
arrived from Detroit. This was on the sixth 
day of June. The fort was taken on the fourth; 
I surrendered myself to Wenniway on the 
fifth; and this was the third day of our distress. 
We were bound, as I have said, for the Isles 
du Castor which lie in the mouth of Lake 
Michigan; and we should have crossed the lake, 
but that a thick fog came on, on account of 
which the Indians deemed it safer to keep the 
shore close under their lee. We therefore ap- 
proached the lands of the Ottawa and their 
village of L'Arbre Croche already mentioned 
as lying about twenty miles to the westward of 


Michilimackinac on the opposite side of the 
tongue of land on which the fort is built. 

Every half hour the Indians gave their war 
whoops, one for every prisoner in their canoe.- 
This is a general custom, by the aid of which 
all other Indians within hearing are apprised 
of the number of prisoners they are carrying. 

In this manner we reached Wagoshense, 67 
a long point stretching westward into the lake 
and which the Ottawa make a carrying-place 
to avoid going round it. It is distant eighteen 
miles from Michilimackinac. After the Indi- 
ans had made their war whoop as before an 
Ottawa appeared upon the beach, who made 
signs that we should land. 

In consequence we approached. The Ottawa 
asked the news and kept the Chipewa in 
further conversation till we were within a few 
yards of the land and in shallow water. At 
this moment a hundred men rushed upon us from 
among the bushes and dragged all the prisoners 
out of the canoes amid a terrifying shout. 

We now believed that our last sufferings 
were approaching; but no sooner were we 
fairly on shore and on our legs than the chiefs 
of the party advanced and gave each of us 
their hands, telling us that they were our 
friends, and Ottawa, whom the Chipewa 
had insulted by destroying the English with- 
out consulting with them on the affair. They 
added that what they had done was for the 

67 i. e., Fox Point. Author. 


purpose of saving our lives, the Chipewa 
having been carrying us to the Isles du Castro 
only to kill and devour us. 

The reader's imagination is here distracted 
by the variety of our fortunes, and he may well 
paint to himself the state of mind of those who 
sustained them; who were the sport, or the 
victims, of a series of events more like dreams 
than realities, more like fiction than truth! It 
was not long before we were embarked again 
in the canoes of the Ottawa, who, the same 
evening, re-landed us at Michilimackinac, 
where they marched us into the fort in view of 
the Chipewa, confounded at beholding the 
Ottawa espouse a side opposite their own. 

The Ottawa, who had accompanied us in 
sufficient numbers, took possession of the fort. 
We, who had changed masters but were still 
prisoners, were lodged in the house of "the 
commandant and strictly guarded. 

Early the next morning a general council 
was held, in which the Chipewa complained 
much of the conduct of the Ottawa in robbing 
them of their prisoners, alleging that all the 
Indians, the Ottawa alone excepted, were at 
war with the English; that Pontiac had taken 
Detroit; that the King of France had awoke, 
and repossessed himself of Quebec and Mon- 
treal; and that the English were meeting 
destruction, not only at Michilimackinac, but 
in every other part of the world. From all this 
they inferred that it became the Ottawa to 


restore the prisoners and to join in the war; 
and the speech was followed by large presents, 
being part of the plunder of the fort, and 
which was previously heaped in the center of 
the room. The Indians rarely make their 
answers till the day after they have heard the 
arguments offered. They did not depart from 
their custom on this occasion, and the council 
therefore adjourned. 

We, the prisoners, whose fate was thus in 
controversy, were unacquainted at the time 
with this transaction, and therefore enjoyed 
a night of tolerable tranquillity, not in the least 
suspecting the reverse which was preparing for 
us. Which of the arguments of the Chipewa, 
or whether or not all were deemed valid by the 
Ottawa, I cannot say; but the council was 
resumed at an early hour in the morning and 
after several speeches had been made in it the 
prisoners were sent for and returned to the 

The Ottawa, who now gave us into the 
hands of the Chipewa, had themselves de- 
clared that the latter designed no other than to 
kill us and make broth of us. The Chipewa, 
as soon as we were restored to them, marched 
us to a village of their own, situate on the 
point which is below the fort, and put us into a 
lodge already the prison of fourteen soldiers, 
tied two and two, with each a rope about his 
neck, and made fast to a pole which might be 
called the supporter of the building. . 


I was left untied; but I passed a night sleep- 
less and full of wretchedness. My bed was the 
bare ground, and I was again reduced to an 
old shirt as my entire apparel; the blanket 
which I had received through the generosity 
of- M. Cuchoise having been taken from me 
among the Ottawa when they seized upon 
myself and the others at Wagoshense. I was, 
besides, in want of food, having for two days 
ate nothing. 

I confess that in the canoe with the Chipe- 
wa I was offered bread but bread with 
what accompaniment! They had a loaf which 
they cut with the same knives that they had 
employed in the massacre knives still 
covered with blood. The blood they moistened 
with spittle, and rubbing it on the bread 
offered this for food to their prisoners, telling 
them to eat the blood of their countrymen. 

Such was my situation on the morning of 
the seventh of June, in the year one thousand 
seven hundred and sixty- three; but a few hours 
produced an event which gave still a new color 
to my lot. 

Toward noon, when the great war chief, 
in company with Wenniway, was seated at 
the opposite end of the lodge, my friend and 
brother, Wawatam, suddenly came in. During 
the four days preceding I had often wondered 
what had become of him. In passing by he 
gave me his hand, but went immediately to- 
ward the great chief by the side of whom 


and Wenniway he sat himself down. The most 
uninterrupted silence prevailed; each smoked 
his pipe; and this done, Wawatam arose and 
left the lodge, saying to me as he passed, 
"Take courage!" 




AT hour elapsed, during which several 
chiefs entered and preparations appeared 
to be making for a council. At length 
Wawatam reentered the lodge, followed by his 
wife, and both loaded with merchandise which 
they carried up to the chiefs and laid in a 
heap before them. Some moments of silence 
followed, at the end of which Wawatam pro- 
nounced a speech, every word of which to 
me was of extraordinary interest: 

"Friends and relations," he began, "what 
is it that I shall say? You know what I feel. 
You all have friends and brothers and chil- 
dren, whom as yourselves you love; and you 
what would you experience, did you, like me 
behold your dearest friend your brother 
in the condition of a slave; a slave, exposed 
every moment to insult, and to menaces of 
death? This case, as you all know, is mine. 
See there (pointing to myself) my friend and 
brother among slaves himself a slave! 

"You all well know that long before the war 
began I adopted him as my brother. From 
that moment he became one of my family, so 
that no change of circumstances could break 
the cord which fastened us together. 


"He is my brother; and because I am your 
relation he is therefore your relation, too: 
and how, being your relation, can he be your 

"On the day on which the war began you were 
fearful lest on this very account I should reveal 
your secret. You requested, therefore, that I 
would leave the fort, and even cross the lake. 
I did so; but I did it with reluctance. I 
did it with reluctance, notwithstanding that 
you, Menehwehna, who had the command in 
this enterprise, gave me your promise that 
you would protect my friend, delivering him 
from all danger, and giving him safely to 

"The performance of this promise I now claim. 
I come not with empty hands to ask it. You, 
Menehwehna, best know whether or not, as it 
respects yourself, you have kept your word, 
but I bring these goods to buy off every claim 
which any man among you all may have on 
my brother, as his prisoner." 

Wawatam having ceased, the pipes were 
again filled; and after they were finished a fur- 
ther period of silence followed. At the end of 
this, Menehwehna arose and gave his reply: 

"My relation and brother," said he, "what 
you have spoken is the truth. We were ac- 
quainted with the friendship which subsisted 
between yourself and the Englishman in whose 
behalf you have now addressed us. We knew 
the danger of having our secret discovered, 


Cratoelg anfc 

and the consequences which must follow; and 
you say truly that we requested you to leave the 
fort. This we did out of regard for you and 
your family; for if a discovery of our design 
had been made, you would have been blamed, 
whether guilty or not; and you would thus 
have been involved in difficulties from which 
you could not have extricated yourself. 

"It is also true that I promised you to take 
care of your friend; and this promise I per- 
formed by desiring my son, at the moment of 
assault, to seek him out and bring him to my 
lodge. He went accordingly, but could not 
find him. The day after I sent him to Lang- 
lade's, when he was informed that your friend 
was safe; and had it not been that the Indians 
were then drinking the rum which had been 
found in the fort he would have brought him 
home with him, according to my orders. 

"I am very glad to find that your friend has 
escaped. We accept your present; and you 
may take him home with you. " 

Wawatam thanked the assembled chiefs, 
and taking me by the hand, led me to his lodge, 
which was at the distance of a few yards only 
from the prison lodge. My entrance appeared 
to give joy to the whole family; food was im- 
mediately prepared for me; and I now ate the 
first hearty meal which I had made since my cap- 
ture. I found myself one of the family; and but 
that I had still my fears as to the other Indi- 
ans I felt as happy as the situation could allow. 

In the course of the next morning I was 
alarmed by a noise in the prison lodge; and 
looking through the openings of the lodge in 
which I was, I saw seven c(ead bodies of white 
men dragged forth. Upon my inquiry into the 
occasion I was informed that a certain chief 
called by the Canadians Le Grand Sable had 
not long before arrived from his winter's 
hunt; and that he, having been absent when 
the war begun, and being now desirous of 
manifesting to the Indians at large his hearty 
concurrence in what they had done, had gone 
into the prison lodge, and there, with his 
knife, put the seven men, whose bodies I had 
seen, to death. 

Shortly after two of the Indians took one of 
the dead bodies which they chose as being the 
fattest, cut off the head, and divided the whole 
into five parts, one of which was put into each 
of five kettles, hung over as many fires kindled 
for this purpose at the door of the prison lodge. 
Soon after things were so far prepared a 
message came to our lodge with an invitation 
to Wawatam to assist at the feast. 

An invitation to a feast is given by him who 
is the master of it. Small cuttings of cedar 
wood, of about four inches in length, supply the 
place of cards; and the bearer, by word of 
mouth, states the particulars. 

Wawatam obeyed the summons, taking with 
him as is usual to the place of entertainment 
dish and spoon. 



After an absence of about half an hour he 
returned bringing in his dish a human hand and 
a large piece of flesh. He did not appear to 
relish the repast, but told me that it was then 
and always had been the custom among all the 
Indian nations when returning from war, or on 
overcoming their enemies, to make a war feast 
from among the slain. This, he said, inspired 
the warrior with courage in attack, and bred 
him to meet death with fearlessness. 

In the evening of the same day a large 
canoe, such as those which came from Mon- 
treal, was seen advancing to the fort. It was 
full of men, and I distinguished several pas- 
sengers. The Indian cry was made in the 
village; a general muster ordered; and, to the 
number of two hundred, they marched up to 
the fort where the canoe was expected to land. 
The canoe, suspecting nothing, came boldly 
to the fort, where the passengers, as being 
English traders, were seized, dragged through 
the water, beat, reviled, marched to the prison 
lodge, and there stripped of their clothes, and 

Of the English traders that fell into the 
hands of the Indians at the capture of the fort, 
Mr. Tracy was the only one who lost his life. 
Mr. Ezekiel Solomons and Mr. Henry Bost- 
wick were taken by the Ottawa, and after the 
peace, carried down to Montreal, and there 
ransomed. Of ninety troops about seventy 
were killed; the rest, together with those of 


the posts in the Bay des Puants, and at the 
River St. Joseph, were also kept in safety 
by the Ottawa till the peace, and then either 
freely restored, or ransomed at Montreal. 58 
The Ottawa never overcame their disgust at 
the neglect with which they had been treated 
in the beginning of the war by those who 
afterward desired their assistance as allies. 

58 The garrison of Fort Edward Augustus at Green 
Bay came at the summons of Captain Etherington to 
join that officer at L 'Arbre Croche, being escorted across 
Lake Michigan by a band of friendly Menominee. The 
garrison at St. Joseph was massacred on May 25 by the 
Potawatomi; the four survivors of this massacre were 
carried to Detroit and there, on June 15, exchanged for 
certain Indians then in the hands of the besieged gar- 
rison at that place. Editor. 


Cljaptct; 13 


IN the morning of the ninth of June a general 
council was held, at which it was agreed 
to remove to the island of Michilimackinac, 
as a more defensible situation, in the event of 
an attack by the English. The Indians had 
begun to entertain apprehensions of want of 
strength. No news had reached them from the 
Potawatomi, in the Bay des Puants; and 
they were uncertain whether or not the 
Monomins 59 would join them. They even 
feared that the Sioux would take the English 

This resolution fixed, they prepared for a 
speedy retreat. At noon the camp was broken 
up, and we embarked, taking with us the 
prisoners that were still undisposed of. On our 
passage we encountered a gale of wind, and 
there were some appearances of danger. To 
avert it, a dog, of which the legs were previously 
tied together, was thrown into the lake; an 
offering designed to soothe the angry passions 
of some offended Manito. 

59 Manomines or Malomines. In the first syllable the 
substitution of / for n, and n for /, marks one of the 
differences in the Chippewa and Algonquin dialects. 
In the mouth of an Algonquin it is Michilimackinac; in 
that of a Chippewa, Michinimackinac. Author. 

As we approached the island two women in 
the canoe in which I was began to utter melan- 
choly and hideous cries. Precarious as my 
condition still remained I experienced some 
sensations of alarm from these dismal sounds, 
of which I could not then discover the occa- 
sion. Subsequently I learned that it is custom- 
ary for the women on passing near the burial 
places of relations never to omit the practice 
of which I was now a witness, and by which 
they intend to denote their grief. 

By the approach of evening we reached the 
island in safety, and the women were not long 
in erecting our cabins. In the morning there 
was a muster of the Indians, at which there 
were found three hundred and fifty fighting men. 

In the course of the day there arrived a canoe 
from Detroit, with ambassadors, who en- 
deavored to prevail on the Indians to repair 
thither to the assistance of Pontiac; but fear 
was now the prevailing passion. A guard was 
kept during the day and a watch by night, and 
alarms were very frequently spread. Had an 
enemy appeared all the prisoners would have 
been put to death; and I suspected that as an 
Englishman I should share their fate. 

Several days had now passed, when one 
morning a continued alarm prevailed, and I 
saw the Indians running in a confused manner 
toward the beach. In a short time I learned 
that two large canoes from Montreal were in 


All the Indian canoes were immediately 
manned, and those from Montreal were sur- 
rounded and seized as they turned the point 
behind which the flotilla had been concealed. 
The goods were consigned to a Mr. Levy, and 
would have been saved if the canoe men had 
called them French property; but they were 
terrified, and disguised nothing. 

In the canoes was a large proportion of liquor, 
a dangerous acquisition, and which threatened 
disturbance among the Indians, even to the loss 
of their dearest friends. Wawatam, always 
watchful of my safety, no sooner heard the 
noise of drunkenness, which in the evening did 
not fail to begin, than he represented to me the 
danger of remaining in the village, and owned 
that he could not himself resist the temptation 
of joining his comrades in the debauch. That 
I might escape all mischief, he, therefore, re- 
quested that I would accompany him to the 
mountain, where I was to remain hidden till 
the liquor should be drunk. 

We ascended the mountain accordingly. 
It is this mountain which constitutes that high 
land in the middle of the island, of which I 
have spoken before, as of a figure considered as 
resembling a turtle, and therefore called michi- 
limackinac. It is thickly covered with wood, 
and very rocky toward the top. After walking 
more than half a mile we came to a large rock 
at the base of which was an opening, dark 
within, appearing to be the entrance of a cave. 

Here Wawatam recommended that I should 
take up my lodging, and by all means to remain 
till he returned. 

On going into the cave, of which the entrance 
was nearly ten feet wide, I found the farther 
end to be rounded in its shape, like that of an 
oven but with a further aperture, too small, 
however, to be explored. 

After thus looking around me I broke small 
branches from the trees and spread them for a 
bed; then wrapped myself in my blanket, and 
slept till daybreak. 

On awaking I felt myself incommoded by 
some object upon which I lay; and removing it 
found it to be a bone. This I supposed to be 
that of a deer, or some other animal, and what 
might very naturally be looked for in the place 
in which I was; but when daylight visited my 
chamber I discovered with some feelings of 
horror that I was lying on nothing less than a 
heap of human bones and skulls which covered 
all the floor! 

The day passed without the return of Wawa- 
tam, and without food. As night approached 
I found myself unable to meet its darkness in 
the charnel house, which, nevertheless, I had 
viewed free from uneasiness during the day. 
I chose, therefore, an- adjacent bush for this 
night's lodging, and slept under it as before; 
but in the morning I awoke hungry and dis- 
pirited, and almost envying the dry bones, to 
the view of which I returned. At length the 

Cratodg anfc 

sound of a foot reached me, and my Indian 
friend appeared, making many apologies for 
his long absence, the cause of which was an 
unfortunate excess in the enjoyment of his 

This point being explained, I mentioned the 
extraordinary sight that had presented itself 
in the cave to which he had commended my 
slumbers. He had never heard of its existence 
before; and upon examining the cave together 
we saw reason to believe that it had been 
anciently filled with human bodies. 

On returning to the lodge I experienced a 
cordial reception from the family, which con- 
sisted of the wife of my friend, his two sons, 
of whom the eldest was married, and whose 
wife and a daughter of thirteen years of age, 
completed the list. 

Wawatam related to the other Indians the 
adventure of the bones. All of them expressed 
surprise at hearing it, and declared that they 
had never been aware of the contents of this 
cave before. After visiting it, which they im- 
mediately did, almost every one offered a dif- 
ferent opinion as to its history. 

Some advanced that at a period when the 
waters overflowed the land (an event which 
makes a distinguished figure in the history of 
their world) the inhabitants of this island had 
fled into the cave, and been there drowned; 
others, that those same inhabitants, when the 
Huron made war upon them (as tradition 


says they did) hid themselves in the cave, and 
being discovered, were there massacred. For 
myself, I am disposed to believe that this cave 
was an ancient receptacle of the bones of 
prisoners sacrificed and devoured at war 
feasts. I have always observed that the Indians 
pay particular attention to the bones of sacri- 
fices, preserving them unbroken, and deposit- 
ing them in some place kept exclusively for 
that purpose. 




A FEW days after the occurrence of the 
incidents recorded in the preceding 
. chapter, Menehwehna, whom I now 
found to be the great chief of the village of 
Michilimackinac, came to the lodge of my 
friend; and when the usual ceremony of smok- 
ing was finished, he observed that Indians were 
now daily arriving from Detroit, some of whom 
had lost relations or friends in the war, and 
who would certainly retaliate on any English- 
man they found; upon which account his 
errand was to advise that I should be dressed 
like an Indian, an expedient whence I might 
hope to escape all future insult. 

I could not but consent to the proposal, and 
the chief was so kind as to assist my friend 
and his family in effecting that very day the 
desired metamorphosis. My hair was cut off, 
and my head shaved with the exception of a 
spot on the crown of about twice the diameter 
of a crown-piece. My face was painted with 
three or four different colors, some parts of it 
red, and others black. A shirt was provided 
for me, painted with vermilion mixed with 
grease. A large collar of wampum was put 
round my neck, and another suspended on my 


breast. Both my arms were decorated with 
large bands of silver above the elbows, be- 
sides several smaller ones on the wrists; and my 
legs were covered with mitasses, a kind of hose 
made, as is the favorite fashion, of scarlet 
cloth. Over all I was to wear a scarlet blanket 
or mantle, and on my head a large bunch of 

I parted, not without some regret, with the 
long hair which was natural to it and which I 
fancied to be ornamental; but the ladies of the 
family and of the village in general appeared 
to think my person improved, and now con- 
descended to call me handsome, even among 

Protected in a great measure by this dis- 
guise, I felt myself more at liberty than before; 
and the season being arrived in which my 
clerks from the interior were to be expected 
and some part of my property, as I had a right 
to hope, recovered, I begged the favor of 
Wawatam that he would enable me to pay a 
short visit to Michilimackinac. He did not 
fail to comply, and I succeeded in finding my 
clerks; but, either through the disturbed state 
of the country, as they represented to be the 
case, or through their misconduct, as I had 
reason to think, I obtained nothing; and noth- 
ing, or almost nothing, I now began to think, 
would be all that I should need during the rest 
of my life. To fish and to hunt, to collect a 
few skins, and exchange them for necessaries, 



was all that I seemed destined to do and to 
acquire for the future. 

I returned to the Indian village where at 
this time much scarcity of food prevailed. We 
were often for twenty-four hours without 
eating; and when in the morning we had n6 
victuals for the day before us the custom was 
to black our faces with grease and charcoal, 
and exhibit through resignation a temper as 
cheerful as if in the midst of plenty. 

A repetition of the evil, however, soon in- 
duced us to leave the island in search of food; 
and accordingly we departed for the Bay of 
Boutchitaouy, distant eight leagues, and where 
we found plenty of wild fowl and fish. 

While in the bay my guardian's daughter- 
in-law was taken in labor of her first child. 
She was immediately removed out of the com- 
mon lodge; and a small one for her separate 
accommodation was begun and finished by the 
women in less than half an hour. 

The next morning we heard that she was 
very ill, and the family began to be much 
alarmed on her account; the more so, no doubt, 
because cases of difficult labor are very rare 
among Indian women. In this distress, Wawa- 
tam requested me to accompany him into the 
woods; and on our way informed me that if 
.he could find a snake he should soon secure 
relief to his daughter-in-law. 

On reaching some wet ground we speedily 
obtained the object of our search in a small 


snake of the kind called the garter snake. 
Wawatam seized it by the neck; and hold- 
ing it fast while it coiled itself around his 
arm, he cut off its head, catching the blood 
in a cup that he had brought with him. This 
done, he threw away the snake, and carried 
home the blood, which he mixed with a quan- 
tity of water. Of this mixture he adminis- 
tered first one tablespoonful, and shortly after- 
wards a second. Within an hour the patient 
was safely delivered of a fine child : and Wa- 
watam subsequently declared that the remedy 
to which he had resorted was one that never 

On the next day we left the Bay of Bout- 
chitaouy; and the young mother, in high 
spirits, assisted in loading the canoe, bare- 
footed, and knee deep in the water. 

The medical information, the diseases and 
the remedies of the Indians, often engaged my 
curiosity during the period through which 
I was familiar with these nations; and I shall 
take this occasion to introduce a few particulars 
connected with their history. 

The Indians are in general free from dis- 
orders; and an instance of their being subject 
to dropsy, gout, or stone, never came within 
my knowledge. Inflammations of the lungs 
are among their most ordinary complaints, and 
rheumatism still more so, especially with the 
aged. Their mode of life, in which they are so 
much exposed to the wet and cold, sleeping on 


the ground, and inhaling the night air, suffi- 
ciently accounts for their liability to these dis- 
eases. The remedies on which they most rely 
are emetics, cathartics, and the lancet; but 
especially the last. Bleeding is so favorite an 
operation among the women that they never 
lose an occasion of enjoying it, whether sick 
or well. I have sometimes bled a dozen women 
in a morning as they sat in a row along a fallen 
tree, beginning with the first opening the vein 
then proceeding to the second and so on, 
having three or four individuals bleeding at 
the same time. 

In most villages, and particularly in those of 
the Chipewa, this service was required of 
me; and no persuasion of mine could ever 
induce a woman to dispense with it. 

In all parts of the country and among all 
the nations that I have seen, particular in- 
dividuals arrogate to themselves the art of 
healing, but principally by means of pretended 
sorcery; and operations of this sort are always 
paid for by a present, made before they are 
begun. Indeed, whatever, as an impostor, may 
be the demerits of the operator, his reward 
may generally be said to be fairly earned by 
dint of corporal labor. 

I was once present at a performance of this 
kind in which the patient was a female child of 
about twelve years of age. Several of the elder 
chiefs were invited to the scene; and the same 
compliment was paid to myself on* account of 


the medical skill for which it was pleased to 
give me credit. 

The physician (so to call him) seated himself 
on the ground; and before him on a new stroud 
blanket was placed a basin of water in which 
were three bones, the larger ones, as it appeared 
to me, of a swan's wing. In his hand he had his 
shishiquoi, or rattle, with which he beat time to 
his medicine-song. The sick child lay on a blan- 
ket near the physician. She appeared to have 
much fever, and a. severe oppression of the 
lungs, breathing with difficulty, and betraying 
symptoms of the last stage of consumption. 

After singing for some time the physician 
took one of the bones out of the basin: the 
bone was hollow; and one end being applied to 
the breast of the patient, he put the other into 
his mouth in order to remove the disorder by 
suction. Having persevered in this as long 
as he thought proper, he suddenly seemed to 
force the bone into his mouth and swallow it. 
He now acted the part of one suffering severe 
pain; but presently finding relief, he made a 
long speech, and after this returned to singing, 
and to the accompaniment of his rattle. With 
the latter, during his song, he struck his head, 
breast, sides and back; at the same time strain- 
ing as if to vomit forth the bone. 

Relinquishing this attempt, he applied 
himself to suction a second time, and with the 
second of the three bones; and this also he 
soon seemed to swallow. 


Upon its disappearance he began to distort 
himself in the most frightful manner, using 
every gesture which could convey the idea 
of pain; at length he succeeded, or pretended 
to succeed, in throwing up one of the bones. 
This was handed about to the spectators, and 
strictly examined; but nothing remarkable 
could be discovered. Upon this he went back 
to his song and rattle: and after some time 
threw up the second of the two bones. In the 
groove of this the physician, upon examination, 
found and displayed to all present a small 
white substance, resembling a piece of the 
quill of a feather. It was passed round the 
company from one to the other; and declared 
by the physician to be the thing causing the 
disorder of his patient. 

The multitude believe that these physicians, 
whom the French call jongleurs, or jugglers, 
can inflict as well as remove disorders. They 
believe that by drawing the figure of any per- 
son in sand or ashes, or on clay, or by consider- 
ing any object as the figure of a person and then 
pricking it with a sharp stick or other sub- 
stance, or doing in any other manner that 
which done to a living body would cause pain 
or injury, the individual represented, or sup- 
posed to be represented, will suffer accordingly. 
On the other hand the mischief being done, 
another physician of equal pretension can by 
suction remove it. Unfortunately, however, 
the operations which I have described were 


not successful in the instance referred to; for 
on the day after they had taken place the girl 

With regard to flesh wounds the Indians 
certainly effect astonishing cures. Here, also 
much that is fantastic occurs, but the success 
of their practice evinces something solid. 

At the Sault de Ste. Marie I knew a man 
who in the result of a quarrel received the 
stroke of an axe in his side. The blow was so 
violent and the axe driven so deep that the 
wretch who held it could not withdraw it, but 
left it in the wound and fled. Shortly after the 
man was found and brought in to the fort where 
several other Indians came to his assistance. 
Among these, one, who was a physician, im- 
mediately withdrew in order to fetch his 
penegusan, or medicine bag, with which he soon 
returned. The eyes of the sufferer were fixed, 
his teeth closed, and his case apparently 

The physician took from his bag a small 
portion of a very white substance, resembling 
that of a bone; this he scraped into a little 
water and forcing open the jaws of the patient 
with a stick he poured the mixture down his 
throat. What followed was that in a very 
short space of time the wounded man moved 
his eyes, and beginning to vomit threw up a 
small lump of clotted blood. 

The physician now, and not before, exam- 
ined the wound from which I could see the 



breath escape, and from which a part of the 
omentum depended. This the physician did 
not set about to restore to its place; but cutting 
it away, minced it into small pieces and made 
his patient swallow it. 

The man was then carried to his lodge where 
I visited him daily. By the sixth day he was 
able to walk about; and within a month he 
grew quite well except that he was troubled 
with a cough. Twenty years after his mis- 
fortune he was still alive. 

Another man, being on his wintering 
ground and from home hunting beaver, was 
crossing a lake covered with smooth ice with 
two beavers on his back, when his foot slipped 
and he fell. At his side in his belt was his axe, 
the blade of which came upon the joint of his 
wrist; and the weight of his body coming upon 
the blade, his hand was completely separated 
from his arm with the exception of a small 
piece of the skin. He had to walk three miles to 
his lodge which was thus far away. The skin, 
which alone retained his hand to his arm, he 
cut through with the same axe which had done 
the rest; and fortunately having on a shirt, he 
took it off, tore it up, and made a strong liga- 
ture above the wrist, so as in some measure 
to avoid the loss of blood. On reaching his 
lodge he cured the wound himself by the mere 
use of simples. I was a witness v to its perfect 

I have said that these physicians, jugglers, 


or practitioners of pretended sorcery, are sup- 
posed to be capable of inflicting diseases; and 
I may add that they are sometimes themselves 
sufferers on this account. In one instance I 
saw one of them killed by a man who charged 
him with having brought his brother to death 
by malefic arts. The accuser in his rage thrust 
his knife into the belly of the accused and 
ripped it open. The latter caught his bowels in 
his arms and thus walked toward his lodge, 
gathering them- up from time to time as they 
escaped his hold. His lodge was at no con- 
siderable distance and he reached it alive and 
died in it. 


Chapter is 


OUR next encampment was on the Island 
of Saint Martin, off Cape St. Ignace, 
so called from the Jesuit mission of St. 
Ignatius to the Hurons formerly established 
there. Our object was to fish for sturgeon, 
which we did with great success; and here in 
the enjoyment of a plentiful and excellent sup- 
ply of food we remained until the twentieth 
day of August. At this time, the autumn being 
at hand, and a sure prospect of increased 
security from hostile Indians afforded, Wawa- 
tam proposed going to his intended wintering 
ground. The removal was a subject of the 
greatest joy to myself on account of the fre- 
quent insults to which I had still to submit 
from the Indians of our band or village; and to 
escape from which I would freely have gone 
almost anywhere. At our wintering ground we 
were to be alone; for the Indian families in the 
countries of which I write separate in the 
winter season for the convenience as well of 
subsistence as of the chase, and re-associate in 
the spring and summer. 

In preparation our first business was to sail 
for Michilimackinac, where, being arrived, 
we procured from a Canadian trader on credit 

some trifling articles together with ammuni- 
tion and two bushels of maize. This done we 
steered directly for Lake Michigan. At L'Ar- 
bre Croche we stopped one day on a visit to 
the Ottawas where all the people, and particu- 
larly Okinochumaki, the chief, the same who 
took me from the Chippewa, behaved with 
great civility and kindness. The chief presented 
me with a bag of maize. It is the Ottawa, it 
will be remembered, who raise this grain for 
the market of Michilimackinac. 

Leaving L'Arbre Croche, we proceeded 
direct to the mouth of the River Aux Sables 60 
on the south side of the lake and distant about 
a hundred and fifty miles from Fort Michili- 
mackinac. On our voyage we passed several 
deep bays and rivers, and I found the banks of 
the lake to consist in mere sands without any 
appearance of verdure, the sand drifting from 
one hill to another like snow in winter. Hence 
all the rivers which here entered the lake are as 
much entitled to the epithet of sandy as that 

60 There is a modern Big Sable River in northern 
Mason County, Michigan, and near its mouth a head- 
land known as Point Sable juts into Lake Michigan. 
On D'Anville's map of North America, published in 
1746, the Aux Sables River is represented correspond- 
ing with modern Pentwater River. It is clear that 
Henry 's wintering place was in the vicinity of modern 
Ludington, Michigan, but whether on the Big Sable, 
the Notepseakan, or the Pentwater River, is uncertain. 
At the mouth of the Notepseakan (site of modern Lud- 
ington) occurred the death of Father Marquette in 
1675. Editor. 



to which we were bound. They are also dis- 
tinguished by another particularity always 
observable in similar situations. The current 
of the stream being met when the wind is con- 
trary by the waves of the lake, it is driven back, 
and the sands of the shore are at the same time 
washed into its mouth. In consequence the 
river is able to force a passage into the lake, 
broad only in proportion to its utmost strength; 
while it hollows for itself behind the sandbanks 
a basin of one, two, or three miles across. In 
these rivers we killed many wild fowl and 

To kill beaver we used to go several miles 
up the rivers before the approach of night, 
and after the dusk came on, suffer the canoe 
to drift gently down the current without 
noise. The beaver in this part of the evening 
come abroad to procure food or materials for 
repairing their habitations; and as they are 
not alarmed by the canoe, they often pass it 
within gun shot. 

While we thus hunted along our way I en- 
joyed a personal freedom of which I had been 
long deprived, and became as expert in the 
Indian pursuits as the Indians themselves. 

On entering the River Aux Sables, Wawatam 
took a dog, tied its feet together, and threw it 
into the stream, uttering at the same time a 
long prayer which he addressed to the Great 
Spirit, supplicating his blessing on the chase, 
and his aid in the support of the family through 


the dangers of a long winter. Our lodge was 
fifteen miles above the mouth of the stream. 
The principal animals which the country 
afforded were the stag, or red deer, the com- 
mon American deer, the bear, raccoon, beaver, 
and marten. 

The beaver feeds in preference on young 
wood of the birch, aspen, and poplar tree: 61 
but in defect of these, on any other tree, those 
of the pine and fir kinds excepted. These latter 
it employs only for building its dams and 
houses. In wide meadows where no wood is to 
be found it resorts for all its purposes to the 
roots of the rush and water lily. It consumes 
great quantities of food, whether of roots or 
wood; and hence often reduces itself to the 
necessity of removing into a new quarter. Its 
house has an arched dome-like roof, of an 
elliptical figure, and rises from three to four 
feet above the surface of the water. It is 
always entirely surrounded by water; but in 
the banks adjacent the animal provides holes 
or washes, of which the entrance is below 
the surface, and to which it retreats on the 
first alarm. 

The female beaver usually produces two 
young at a time, but not infrequently more. 
During the first year the young remain with 
their parents. In the second, they occupy an 
adjoining apartment and assist in building and 

n Popuhts nigra, called by the Canadians, Hard. 


in procuring food. At two years old they part 
and build houses of their own, but often rove 
about for a considerable time before they fix 
upon a spot. There are beavers called by the 
Indians old bachelors, who live by themselves, 
build no houses, and work at no dams, but 
shelter themselves in holes. The usual method 
of taking these is by traps, formed of iron or 
logs, and baited with branches of poplar. 

According to the Indians the beaver is much 
given to jealousy. If a strange male approaches 
the cabin a battle immediately ensues. Of 
this the female remains an unconcerned spec- 
tator, careless to which party the law of con- 
quest may assign her. Among the beaver 
which we killed those who were with me pre- 
tended to show demonstrations of this fact, 
some of the skins of the males, and almost all 
of the older ones, bearing marks of violence, 
while none were ever to be seen on the skins 
of the females. 

The Indians add that the male is as constant 
as he is jealous, never attaching himself to 
.more than one female; while the female on her 
side is always fond of strangers. 

The most common way of taking the beaver 
is that of breaking up its house, which is done 
with trenching tools during the winter, when 
the ice is strong enough to allow of approaching 
them, and when, also, the fur is in its most 
valuable state. 

Breaking up the house, however, is only a 


preparatory step. During this operation the 
family make their escape to one or more of 
their washes. These are to be discovered by 
striking the ice along the bank, and where the 
holes are a hollow sound is returned. After 
discovering and searching many of these in 
vam we often found the whole family together 
in the same wash. I was taught occasionally 
to distinguish a full wash from an empty one 
by the motion of the water above its entrance 
occasioned by the breathing of the animals 
concealed in it. From the washes they must 
be taken out with the hands; and in doing this 
the hunter sometimes receives severe wounds 
from their teeth. While a hunter I thought 
with the Indians that the beaver flesh was 
very good; but after that of the ox was again 
within my reach I could not relish it. The tail 
is accounted a luxurious morsel. 

Beavers, say the Indians, were formerly a 
people endowed with speech, not less than with 
the other noble faculties they possess; but the 
Great Spirit has taken this away from them 
lest they should grow superior in understand- 
ing to mankind. 

The raccoon was another object of our chase. 
It was my practice to go out in the evening 
with dogs, accompanied by the youngest son 
of my guardian, to hunt this animal. The 
raccoon never leaves its hiding place till after 

As soon as a dog falls on a fresh track of the 


anti Slfctoentureg 

raccoon he gives notice by a cry, and immediate- 
ly pursues. His barking enables the hunter to 
follow. The raccoon, which travels slowly and 
is soon overtaken, makes for a tree on which 
he remains till shot. 

After the falling of the snow nothing more is 
necessary for taking the raccoon than to follow 
the track of his feet. In this season he seldom 
leaves his habitation; and he never lays up any 
food. I have found six at a time in the hollow 
of one tree lying upon each other, and nearly 
in a torpid state. In more than one instance 
I have ascertained that they have lived six 
weeks without food. The mouse is their prin- 
cipal prey. 

Raccoon hunting was my more particular and 
daily employ. I usually went out at the first 
dawn of day and seldom returned till sunset, or 
till I had laden myself with as many animals as 
I could carry. By degrees I became familiar- 
ized with this kind of life ; and had it not been for 
the idea of which I could not divest my mind, 
that I was living among savages, and for the 
whispers of a lingering hope that I should one 
day be released from it or if I could have 
forgotten that I had ever been otherwise than 
as I then was I could have enjoyed as much 
happiness in this as in any other situation. 




ONE evening on my return from hunting 
I found the fire put out and the opening 
in the top of the lodge covered over 
with skins, by this means excluding as much 
as possible external light. I further observed 
that the ashes were removed from the fire- 
place, and that dry sand was spread where they 
had been. Soon after a fire was made without 
side the cabin in the open air and a kettle hung 
over it to boil. 

I now supposed that a feast was in prepara- 
tion. I supposed so only; for it would have 
been indecorous to inquire into the meaning 
of what I saw. No person among the Indians 
themselves would use this freedom. Good 
breeding requires that the spectator should 
patiently wait the result. 

As soon as the darkness of night had arrived 
the family, including myself, were invited into 
the lodge. I was now requested not to speak 
as a feast was about to be given to the dead, 
whose spirits delight in uninterrupted silence. 

As we entered each was presented with his 
wooden dish and spoon, after receiving which 
we seated ourselves. The door was next shut, 
and we remained in perfect darkness. 



The master of the family was the master of 
the feast. Still in the dark he asked every one 
by turn for his dish and put into each two 
boiled ears of maize. The whole being served, 
he began to speak. In his discourse, which 
lasted half an hour, he called upon the manes 
of his deceased relations and friends, beseech- 
ing them to be present to assist him in the 
chase, and to partake of the food which he had 
prepared for them. When he had ended we 
proceeded to eat our maize, which we did with- 
out other noise than what was occasioned by 
our teeth. The maize was not half boiled, and 
it took me an hour to consume my share. I 
was requested not to break the spikes, 62 as 
this would be displeasing to the departed 
spirits of their friends. 

When all was eaten Wawatam made another 
speech, with which the ceremony ended. A 
new fire was kindled with fresh sparks from 
flint and steel; and the pipes being smoked, the 
spikes were carefully buried in a hole made in 
the ground for that purpose within the lodge. 
This done, the whole family began a dance, 
Wawatam singing and beating a drum. The 
dance continued the greater part of the night, 
to the great pleasure of the lodge. The night of 
the feast was that of the first day of November. 

On the twentieth of December we took an 
account of the produce of our hunt and found 

62 The grains of maize, called also Indian corn, grow 
in compact cells round a spike. Author. 

that we had a hundred beaver skins, as many 
raccoons, and a large quantity of dried venison; 
all which was secured from the wolves by 
being placed upon a scaffold. 

A hunting excursion into the interior of the 
country was resolved on; and early the next 
morning the bundles were made up by the 
women for each person to carry. I remarked 
that the bundle given to me was the lightest, 
and those carried by the women the largest 
and heaviest of the whole. 

On the first day of our march we advanced 
about twenty miles and then encamped. Being 
somewhat fatigued, I could not hunt; but 
Wawatam killed a stag not far from our en- 
campment. The next morning we moved our 
lodge to the carcass. At this station we re- 
mained two days, employed in drying the 
meat. The method was to cut it into slices 
of the thickness of a steak, and then hang it 
over the fire'in the smoke. On the third day 
we removed and marched till two o'clock in the 

While the women were busy in erecting and 
preparing the lodges I took my gun and strolled 
away, telling Wawatam that I intended to 
look out for some fresh meat for supper. He 
answered that he would do the same; and on 
this we both left the encampment in different 

The sun being visible I entertained no fear 
of losing my way; but in following several 



tracks of animals in momentary expectation of 
falling in with the game I proceeded to a 
considerable distance, and it was not till near 
sunset that I thought of returning. The sky, 
too, had become overcast, and I was therefore 
left without the sun for my guide. In this 
situation I walked as fast as I could, always 
supposing myself to be approaching our en- 
campment, till at length it became so dark 
that I ran against the trees. 

I became convinced that I was lost; and I 
was alarmed by the reflection that I was in a 
country entirely strange to me, and in danger 
from strange Indians. With the flint of my 
gun I made a fire, and then laid me down to 
sleep. In the night it rained hard. I awoke 
cold and wet; and as soon as light appeared I 
recommenced my journey, sometimes walking 
and sometimes running, unknowing where to 
go, bewildered, and like a madman. 

Toward evening I reached the border of a 
large lake of which I could scarcely discern 
the opposite shore. I had never heard of a 
lake in this part of the country, and therefore 
felt myself removed further than ever from the 
object of my pursuit. To tread back my steps 
appeared to be the most likely means of deliver- 
ing myself; and I accordingly determined to 
turn my face directly from the lake, and keep 
this direction as nearly as I could. 

A heavy snow began to descend and night 
soon afterward came on. On this I stopped 


and made a fire, and stripping a tree of its 
sheet of bark, lay down under it to shelter me 
from the snow. All night at small distances 
the wolves howled around; and to me seemed 
to be acquainted with my misfortune. 

Amid thoughts the most distracted I was able 
at length to fall asleep; but it was not long 
before I awoke, refreshed, and wondering at 
the terror to which I had yielded myself. That 
I could really have wanted the means of re- 
covering my way appeared to me almost in- 
credible; and the recollection of it like a dream, 
or as a circumstance which must have pro- 
ceeded from the loss of my senses. Had this 
not happened I could never, as I now thought, 
have suffered so long without calling to mind 
the lessons which I had received from my 
Indian friend for the very purpose of being 
useful to me in difficulties of this kind. These 
were that generally speaking the tops of pine 
trees lean toward the rising of the sun; that 
moss grows toward the roots of trees on the 
side which faces the north; and that the limbs 
of trees are most numerous and largest on that 
which faces the south. 

Determined to direct my feet by these 
marks and persuaded that I should thus 
sooner or later reach Lake Michigan, which I 
reckoned to be distant about sixty miles, I 
began my march at break of day. I had not 
taken, nor wished to take, any nourishment, 
since I left the encampment; I had with me my 



gun and ammunition, and was therefore under 
no anxiety in regard to food. The snow lay 
about half a foot in depth. 

My eyes were now employed upon the trees. 
When their tops leaned different ways I looked 
to the moss, or to the branches; and by connect- 
ing one with another, I found the means of 
traveling with some degree of confidence. At 
four o'clock in the afternoon the sun, to my 
inexpressible joy, broke from the clouds, and 
I had now no further need of examining the 

In going down the side of a lofty hill I saty 
a herd of red deer approaching. Desirous of 
killing one of them for food, I hid myself in the 
bushes, and on a large one coming near, pre- 
sented my piece, which missed fire on account 
of the priming having been wetted. The animals 
walked along without taking the least alarm; 
and having reloaded my gun, I followed them 
and presented a second time. But now a 
disaster of the heaviest kind had befallen me; 
for on attempting to fire I found that I had 
lost the cock. I had previously lost the screw 
by which it was fastened to the lock; and to 
prevent this from being lost also I had tied it in 
its place with a leather string: the lock, to 
prevent its catching in the bows, I had carried 
under my molton coat. 

Of all the sufferings which I had experienced 
this seemed to me the most severe. I was in a 
strange country, and knew not how far I had 


to go. I had been three days without food; I 
was now without the means of procuring my- 
self either food or fire. Despair had almost 
overpowered me: but I soon resigned myself 
into the hands of that Providence whose arm 
had so often saved me, and returned on my 
track in search of what I had lost. My search 
was in vain, and I resumed my course, wet, 
cold and hungry, and almost without clothing. 


Chapter 17 


fTAHE sun was setting fast when I descended 
a hill at the bottom of which was a small 
lake entirely frozen over. On drawing 
near I saw a beaver lodge in the middle 
offering some faint prospect of food; but I 
found it already broken up. While I looked at 
it, it suddenly occurred to me that I had seen 
it before; and turning my eyes round the place 
I discovered a small tree which I had myself 
cut down in the autumn when in company with 
my friends I had taken the beaver. I was no 
longer at a loss, but knew both the distance 
and the route to the encampment. The latter 
was only to follow the course of a small stream 
of water which ran from the encampment to 
the lake on which I stood. An hour before 
I had thought myself the most miserable of 
men; and now I leaped for joy and called my- 
self the happiest. 

The whole of the night and through all of 
the succeeding day I walked up the rivulet, 
and at sunset reached the encampment, where 
I was receiveol with the warmest expressions of 
pleasure by the family, by whom I had been 
given up for lost after a long and vain search 
for me in the woods. 


Some days elapsed, during which I rested 
myself and recruited my strength: after this 
I resumed the chase, secure that as the snow 
had now fallen I could always return by the 
way I went. 

In the course of the month of January I 
happened to observe that the trunk of a very 
large pine tree was much torn by the claws of 
a bear, made both in going up and down. On 
further examination I saw that there was a 
large opening in the upper part near which 
the smaller branches were broken. From 
these marks and from the additional circum- 
stance that there were no tracks on the snow 
there was reason to believe that a bear lay 
concealed in the tree. 

On returning to the lodge I communicated 
my discovery; and it was agreed that all the 
family should go together in the morning to 
assist in cutting down the tree, the girth of 
which was not less than three fathoms. The 
women at first opposed the undertaking be- 
cause our axes, being only of a pound and a 
half weight, were not well adapted to so heavy 
a labor; but the hope of finding a large bear 
and obtaining from its fat a great quantity of 
oil, an article at the time much wanted, at 
length prevailed. 

Accordingly in the morning we surrounded 
the tree, both men and women, as many at a 
time as could conveniently work at it; and 
here we toiled like beaver till the sun went 


anfr %frtenturcg 

down. This day's work carried us about half 
way through the trunk; and the next morning 
we renewed the attack, continuing it till about 
two o'clock in the afternoon, when the tree 
fell to the ground. For a few minutes every- 
thing remained quiet, and I feared that all our 
expectations were disappointed; but as I 
advanced to the opening there came out, to 
the great satisfaction of all our party, a bear 
of extraordinary size, which, before she had 
proceeded many yards, I shot. 

The bear being dead, all my assistants ap- 
proached, and all, but more particularly my 
old mother (as I was wont to call her), took her 
head in their hands, stroking and kissing it 
several times; begging a thousand pardons for 
taking away her life: calling her their relation 
and grandmother; and requesting her not to 
lay the fault upon them, since it was truly an 
Englishman that had put her to death. 

This ceremony was not of long duration; 
and if it was I that killed their grandmother 
they were not themselves behindhand in what 
remained to be performed. The skin being 
taken off, we found the fat in several places 
six inches deep. This being divided into two 
parts, loaded two persons; and the flesh parts 
were as much as four persons could carry. 
In all, the carcass must have exceeded five 

As soon as we reached the lodge the bear's 
head was adorned with all the trinkets in the 


possession of the family, such as silver arm 
bands and wrist bands, and belts of wampum; 
and then laid upon a scaffold, set up for its 
reception within the lodge. Near the nose was 
placed a large quantity of tobacco. 

The next morning no sooner appeared than 
preparations were made for a feast to the 
manes. The lodge was cleaned and swept; and 
the head of the bear lifted up, and a new stroud 
blanket, which had never been used before, 
spread under it. The pipes were now lit; and 
Wawatam blew tobacco smoke into the nos- 
trils of the bear, telling me to do the same, and 
thus appease the anger of the bear on account 
of my having killed her. I endeavored to 
persuade my benefactor and friendly adviser 
that she no longer had any life, and assured 
him that I was under no apprehension from 
her displeasure; but the first proposition ob- 
tained no credit, and the second gave but little 

At length the feast being ready, Wawatam 
commenced a speech resembling in many 
things his address to the manes of his relations 
and departed companions; but having this 
peculiarity, that he here deplored the necessity 
under which men labored thus to destroy their 
friends. He represented, however, that the 
misfortune was unavoidable, since without 
doing so, they could by no means subsist. 
The speech ended, we all ate heartily of the 
bear's flesh; and even the head itself, after 

Crabclg anfr %frbenturcg 

remaining three days on the scaffold, was put 
into the kettle. 

It is only the female bear that makes her 
winter lodging in the upper parts of trees, a 
practice by which her young are secured from 
the attacks of wolves and other animals. She 
brings forth in the winter season; and remains 
in her lodge till the cubs have gained some 

The male always lodges in the ground under 
the roots of trees. He takes to this habitation 
as soon as the snow falls, and remains there 
till it has disappeared. The Indians remark 
that the bear comes out in the spring with the 
same fat which he carried in in the autumn; 
but after exercise of only a few days, becomes 
lean. Excepting for a short part of the season, 
the male lives constantly alone. 

The fat of our bear was melted down, and 
the oil filled six porcupine skins. 63 A part of the 
meat was cut into strips, and fire dried, after 
which it was put into the vessels containing 
the oil, where it remained in perfect preserva- 
tion until the middle of summer. 

February, in the country and by the people 
where and among whom I was, is called the 
Moon of Hard, or Crusted Snow; for now the 
snow can bear a man, or at least dogs, in 
pursuit of animals of the chase. At this season 
the stag is very successfully hunted, his feet 

^The animal which, in America, is called a por- 
cupine, is a hedge-hog or urchin. Author. 


breaking through at every step, and the crust 
upon the snow cutting his legs with its sharp 
edges, to the very bone. He is consequently, 
in this distress, an easy prey; and it frequently 
happened that we killed twelve in the short 
space of two hours. By this means we were 
soon put into possession of four thousand 
weight of dried venison, which was to be car- 
ried on our backs, along with all the rest of our 
wealth for seventy miles, the distance of 
our encampment from that part of the lake 
shore at which in the autumn we left our 
canoes. This journey it was our next business 
to perform. 


Chapter is 


OUR venison and furs and peltries were to 
be disposed of at Michilimackinac, and 
it was now the season for carrying them 
to market. The women therefore prepared our 
loads; and the morning of departure being 
come, we set off at daybreak, and continued 
our march till two o'clock in the afternoon. 
Where we stopped we erected a scaffold on 
which we deposited the bundles we had 
brought, and returned to our encampment, 
which we reached in the evening. In the 
morning we carried fresh loads, which being 
deposited with the rest, we returned a second 
time in the evening. This we repeated till all 
was forwarded one stage. Then removing our 
lodge to the place of deposit, we carried our 
goods with the same patient toil a second stage; 
and so on, till we were at no great distance from 
the shores of the lake. 

Arrived here, we turned our attention to 
sugar making, the management of which, as 
I have before related, belongs to the women, 
the men cutting wood for the fires, and hunting 
and fishing. In the midst of this we were 
joined by several lodges of Indians, most of 
whom were of the family to which I belonged, 


and had wintered near us. The lands belonged 
to this family, and it had therefore the ex- 
clusive right to hunt on them. This is accord- 
ing to the custom of the people; for each 
family has its own lands. I was treated very 
civilly by all the lodges. 

Our society had been a short time enlarged 
by this arrival of our friends, when an accident 
occurred which filled all the village with anxiety 
and sorrow. A little child belonging to one of 
our neighbors fell into a kettle of boiling syrup. 
It was instantly snatched out, but with little 
hope of its recovery. 

So long, however, as it lived a continual feast 
was observed; and this was made to the Great 
Spirit and Master of Life, that he might be 
pleased to save and heal the child. At this 
feast I was a constant guest; and often found 
difficulty in eating the large quantity of food, 
which on such occasions as these is put upon 
each man's dish. The Indians accustom them- 
selves both to eat much and to fast much, with 

Several sacrifices were also offered; among 
which were dogs, killed and hung upon the 
tops of poles, with the addition of stroud 
blankets and other articles. These, also, were 
given to the Great Spirit in humble hope 
that he would give efficacy to the medicines 

The child died. To preserve the body from 
the wolves it was placed upon a scaffold, where 



it remained till we went to the Jake, on the 
border of which was the burial ground of the 

On our arrival there, which happened in the 
beginning of April, I did not fail to attend the 
funeral. The grave was made of a large size, 
and the whole of the inside lined with birch 
bark. On the bark was laid the body of the 
child, accompanied with an axe, a pair of 
snowshoes, a small kettle, several pairs of 
common shoes, its own strings of beads, and 
because it was a girl a carrying-belt and a 
paddle. The kettle was filled with meat. 

All this was again covered with bark; and 
at about two feet nearer the surface logs were 
laid across, and these again covered with bark, 
so that the earth might by no means fall upon 
the corpse. 

The last act before the burial, performed by 
the mother crying over the dead body of her 
child, was that of taking from it a lock of hair 
for a memorial. While she did this I endeav- 
ored to console her by offering the usual ar- 
guments, that the child was happy in being 
released from the miseries of this present life, 
and that she should forbear to grieve, because 
it would be restored to her in another world, 
happy and everlasting. She answered that she 
knew it, and that by the lock of hair she should 
discover her daughter; for she would take it 
with her. In this she alluded to the day when 
some pious hand would place in her own 


grave, along with the carrying-belt and paddle, 
this little relic, hallowed by maternal tears. 

I have frequently inquired into the ideas and 
opinions of the Indians in regard to futurity, 
and always found that they were somewhat 
different in different individuals. 

Some suppose their souls to remain in this 
world, although invisible to human eyes; and 
capable, themselves, of seeing and hearing 
their friends, and also of assisting them in 
moments of distress and danger. 

Others dismiss from the mortal scene the 
unembodied spirit, and send it to a distant 
world, or country, in which it receives reward 
or punishment, according to the life which it 
has led in its prior state. Those who have 
lived virtuously are transported into a place 
abounding with every luxury, with deer and all 
other animals of the woods and water, and 
where the earth produces, in their greatest 
perfection, all its sweetest fruits. While, on the 
other hand, those who have violated or neg- 
lected the duties of this life are removed to 
a barren soil, where they wander up and down 
among rocks and morasses, and are stung by 
gnats as large as pigeons. 




WHILE we remained on the border of the 
lake a watch was kept every night in the 
apprehension of a speedy attack from 
the English, who were expected to avenge the 
massacre of Michilimackinac. The immediate 
grounds of this apprehension were the constant 
dreams to this effect of the more aged women. 
I endeavored to persuade them that nothing 
of the kind would take place; but their fears 
were not to be subdued. 

Amid these alarms there came a report con- 
cerning a real, though less formidable enemy, 
discovered in our neighborhood. This was a 
panther which one of our young men had seen 
and which animal sometimes attacks and 
carries away the Indian children. Our camp 
was immediately on the alert, and we set off 
into the woods, about twenty in number. We 
had not proceeded more than a mile before 
the dogs found the panther, and pursued him 
to a tree, on which he was shot. He was of a 
large size. 

On the twenty-fifth of April we embarked 
for Michilimackinac. At La Grande Traverse 64 
we met a large party of Indians who appeared 

64 Modern Grand Traverse Bay. Editor. 


2Uejrant>er Jjjenrp 

to labor, like ourselves, under considerable 
alarm; and who dared proceed no farther, lest 
they should be destroyed by the English. 
Frequent councils of the united bands were 
held; and interrogations were continually put 
to myself as to whether or not I knew of any 
design to attack them. I found that they be- 
lieved it possible for me to have a foreknowl- 
edge of events, and to be informed by dreams 
of all things doing at a distance. 

Protestations of my ignorance were received 
with but little satisfaction, and incurred the 
suspicion of a design to conceal my knowledge. 
On this account therefore, or because I saw 
them tormented with fears which had nothing 
but imagination to rest upon, I told them at 
length that I knew there was no enemy to 
insult them; and that they might proceed 
to Michilimackinac without danger from the 
English. I further, and with more confidence, 
declared that if ever my countrymen returned 
to Michilimackinac I would recommend them 
to their favor on account of the good treatment 
which I had received from them. Thus en- 
couraged they embarked at an early hour the 
next morning. In crossing the bay we ex- 
perienced a storm of thunder and lightning. 

Our port was the village of L'Arbre Croche, 
which we reached in safety, and where we 
stayed till the following day. At this village 
we found several persons who had been lately 
at Michilimackinac, and from them we had 


the satisfaction of learning that all was quiet 
there. The remainder of our voyage was there- 
fore performed with confidence. 

In the evening of the twenty-seventh we 
landed at the fort, which now contained only 
two French traders. The Indians who had 
arrived before us were very few in number; and 
by all who were of our party I was used very 
kindly. I had the entire freedom both of the 
fort and camp. 

Wawatam and myself settled our stock and 
paid our debts; and this done, I found that my 
share of what was left consisted in a hundred 
beaver skins, sixty raccoon skins, and six otter, 
of the total value of about one hundred and 
sixty dollars. With these earnings of my 
winter's toil I proposed to purchase some 
clothes of which I was much in need, having 
been six months without a shirt; but on in- 
quiring into the prices of goods I found that 
all my funds would not go far. I was able, 
however, to buy two shirts at ten pounds of 
beaver each; a pair of leggings, or pantaloons, 
of scarlet cloth, which with the ribbon to 
garnish them fashionably, cost me fifteen 
pounds of beaver; a blanket, at twenty pounds 
of beaver; and some other articles at propor- 
tionable rates. In this manner my wealth 
was soon reduced; but not before I had laid in a 
good stock of ammunition and tobacco. To 
the use of the latter I had become much at- 
tached during the winter. It was my principal 


recreation after returning from the chase; for 
my companions in the lodge were unaccustomed 
to pass the time in conversation. Among the 
Indians the topics of conversation are but few, 
and limited for the most part to the transac- 
tions of the day, the number of animals which 
they have killed, and of those which have 
escaped their pursuit; and other incidents of 
the chase. Indeed, the causes of taciturnity 
among the Indians may be easily understood 
if we consider how many occasions of speech, 
which present themselves to us, are utterly 
unknown to them; the records of history, the 
pursuits of science, the disquisitions of phil- 
osophy, the systems of politics, the business 
and the amusements of the day, and the trans- 
actions of the four corners of the world. 

Eight days had passed in tranquillity when 
there arrived a band of Indians from the Bay 
of Saguenaum. 65 They had assisted at the 
siege of Detroit, and came to muster as many 
recruits for that service as they could. For 
my own part, I was soon informed that as I 
was the only Englishman in the place they 
proposed to kill me in order to give their 
friends a mess of English broth to raise their 

This intelligence was not of the most agrae- 
able kind; and in consequence of receiving it, 
I requested my friend to carry me to the Sault 
de Ste. Marie, at which place I knew the 

66 Modern Saginaw Bay. Editor. 


Crafccitf att& tiftcnturr 

Indians to be peaceably inclined, and that 
M. Cadotte enjoyed a powerful influence over 
their conduct. They considered M. Cadotte 
as their chief; and he was not only my friend, 
but a friend to the English. It was by him 
that the Chipewa of Lake Superior were 
prevented from joining Pontiac. 

Wawatam was not slow to exert himself for 
my preservation; but, leaving Michilimackinac 
in the night, transported myself and all his 
lodge to Point St. Ignace, on the opposite 
side of the strait. Here we remained till day- 
light, and then went into the Bay of Bout- 
chitaouy, in which we spent three days in 
fishing and hunting, and where we found 
plenty of wild fowl. Leaving the bay we made 
for the Isle aux Outardes, where we were 
obliged to put in on account of the wind's 
coming ahead. We proposed sailing for the 
Sault the next morning. 

But when the morning came Wawatam's 
wife complained that she was sick, adding that 
she had had bad dreams, and kjiew that if we 
went to the Sault we should all be destroyed. 
To have argued at this time against the in- 
fallibility of dreams would have been extremely 
inadvisable, since I should have appeared to 
be guilty, not only of an odious want of faith 
but also of a still more odious want of sensi- 
bility to the possible calamities of a family 
which had done so much for the alleviation of 
mine. I was silent; but the disappointment 

seemed to seal my fate. No prospect opened 
to console me. To return to Michilimackinac 
could only ensure my destruction; and to 
remain at the island was to brave almost equal 
danger, since it lay in the direct route between 
the fort and the Missisaki, along which the 
Indians from Detroit were hourly expected to 
pass on the business of their mission. I 
doubted not but, taking advantage of the 
solitary situation of the family, they would 
carry into execution their design of killing me. 




UNABLE, therefore, to take any part in 
the direction of our course, but a prey 
at the same time to the most anxious 
thoughts as to my own condition, I passed all 
the day on the highest part, to which I could 
climb, of a tall tree, and whence the lake on 
both sides of the island lay open to my view. 
Here I might hope to learn at the earliest pos- 
sible moment the approach of canoes, and by this 
means be warned in time to conceal myself. 

On the second morning I returned as soon 
as it was light to my watch-tower, on which I 
had not been long before I discovered a sail 
coming from Michilimackinac. 

The sail was a white one, and much larger 
than those usually employed by the northern 
Indians. I therefore indulged a hope that it 
might be a Canadian canoe, on its voyage to 
Montreal; and that I might be able to prevail 
upon the crew to take me with them and thus 
release me from all my troubles. 

My hopes continued to gain strength; for 
I soon persuaded myself that the manner in 
which the paddles were used on board the 
canoe was Canadian, and not Indian. My 
spirits were elated; but disappointment had 

become so usual with me that I could not suffer 
myself to look to the event with any strength 
of confidence. 

Enough, however, appeared at leijgth to 
demonstrate itself to induce me to descend 
the tree and repair to the lodge, with my tidings 
and schemes of liberty. The family congrat- 
ulated me on the approach of so fair an oppor- 
tunity of escape; and my father and brother 
(for he was alternately each of these) lit his 
pipe and presented it to me saying, " My son, 
this may be the last time that ever you and I 
shall smoke out of the same pipe! I am sorry 
to part with you. You know the affection which 
I always have borne you, and the dangers to 
which I have exposed myself and family 
to preserve you from your enemies; and I am 
happy to find that my efforts promise not to 
have been in vain. " At this time a boy came 
into the lodge, informing us that the canoe had 
come from Michilimackinac and was bound to 
the Sault de Ste. Marie. It was manned by 
three Canadians, and was carrying home 
Madame Cadotte, the wife .of M, Cadotte 
already mentioned. 

My hopes of going to Montreal being now 
dissipated, I resolved on accompanying Ma- 
dame Cadotte, with her permission, to the Sault. 
On communicating my wishes to Madame Ca- 
dotte, she cheerfully acceded to them. Ma- 
dame Cadotte, as I have already mentioned, 
was an Indian woman of the Chippewa 

anfr %frfrcntureg 

nation; and she was very generally respected. 

My departure fixed upon, I returned to the 
lodge, where I packed up my wardrobe, con- 
sisting of my two shirts, pair of leggings, and 
blanket. Besides these I took a gun and am- 
munition, presenting what remained further 
to my host. I also returned the silver arm- 
bands with which the family had decorated me 
the year before. 

We now exchanged farewells, with an emo- 
tion entirely reciprocal. I did not quit the 
lodge without the most grateful sense of the 
many acts of goodness which I had experienced 
in it, nor without the sincerest respect for the 
virtues which I had witnessed among its 
members. All the family accompanied me to 
the beach; and the canoe had no sooner put off, 
than Wawatam commenced an address to the 
Kichi Manito, beseeching him to take care 
of me, his brother, till we should next meet. 
This, he had told me, would not be long, as he 
intended to return to Michilimackinac for a 
short time only, and would then follow me to 
the Sault. We had proceeded to too great a 
distance to allow of our hearing his voice, 
before Wawatam had ceased to offer up his 
prayers. 66 

66 Thus appropriately Wawatam disappears alike 
from Henry's tale and from recorded history. Some 
fifty years later Henry R. Schoolcraft sought diligently 
to discover trace of him or of his family, but in vain. 
H. Bedford- Jones, whose criticisms of Henry's narra- 
tive have been noted in our introduction, advances the 

Being now no longer in the society of Indians 
I laid aside the dress, putting on that of a 
Canadian; a molton, or blanket coat, over my 
shirt, and a handkerchief about my head, hats 
being very little worn in this country. 

At daybreak on the second morning of our 
voyage we embarked, and presently perceived 
several canoes behind us. As they approached, 
we ascertained them to be the fleet bound for 
the Missisaki, of which I had been so long in 
dread. It amounted to twenty sail. 

On coming up with us and surrounding our 
canoe, and amid general inquiries concerning 
the news, an Indian challenged me for an 
Englishman and his companions supported 
him by declaring that I looked very like one; 
but I affected not to understand any of the 
questions which they asked me, and Madame 
Cadotte assured them that I was a Canadian 
whom she had brought on his first voyage from 

The following day saw us safely landed at 
the Sault, where I experienced a generous 
welcome from M. Cadotte. There were thirty 
warriors at this place, restrained from joining 
in the war only by M. Cadotte 's influence. 

Here for five days I was once more in 
possession of tranquillity; but on the sixth a 
young Indian came into M. Cadotte's saying 
that a canoe full of warriors had just arrived 

opinion that Wawatam, like Minavavana, was but a 
"creation of [Henry's] fancy. "Editor. 


anfr %frfrentureg 

from Michilimackinac ; that they had inquired 
for me; and that he believed their intentions 
to be bad. Nearly at the same time a message 
came from the good chief of the village desiring 
me to conceal myself until he should discover 
the views and temper of the strangers. 

A garret was a second time my place of 
refuge; and it was not long before the Indians 
came to M. Cadotte's. My friend immediately 
informed Mutchikiwish, 67 their chief, who was 
related to his wife, of the design imputed to 
them of mischief against myself. Mutchiki- 
wish frankly acknowledged that they had had 
such a design; but added that if displeasing 
to M. Cadotte, it should be abandoned. He 
then further stated that their errand was to 
raise a party of warriors to return with them to 

67 Mutchikiwish, or Matchekewis, was the chief who 
had led the braves in the massacre of June 2. In 1866 
Chief Alexander Robinson of C hicago gave Lyman 
Draper this account of Chief Matchekewis: He was a 
Chippewa, and lived at a place near Mackinac, called 
Cheboygan. He took Mackinac Fort in Pontiac's War, 
and when the British reoccupied that post Matchekewis 
and two or three other ringleaders in that attack were 
taken, sent to Quebec, and imprisoned awhile. But 
the British authorities at length released Matchekewis, 
as well as the others, gave him a medal, flag, and other 
presents, and he returned home with increased honors. 
He was with the Indians at the battle of Fallen Tim- 
bers in 1794 and signed Wayne's treaty the following 
year. He was a large, tall chief, and weighed over two 
hundred pounds; and was a man of great distinction 
among his people. He died about 1806, quite aged, 
perhaps about seventy. Wis. Hist. Colls., VII, 18990. 


Detroit; and that it had been their intention 
to take me with them. 

In regard to the principal of the two objects 
thus disclosed, M. Cadotte proceeded to as- 
semble all the chiefs and warriors of the vil- 
lage; and these, after deliberating for some 
time among themselves, sent for the strangers, 
to whom both M. Cadotte and the chief of the 
village addressed a speech. In these speeches, 
after recurring to the designs confessed to have 
been entertained against myself, who was now 
declared to be under the immediate protection 
of all the chiefs, by whom any insult I might 
sustain would be avenged, the ambassadors 
were peremptorily told that they might go 
back as they came, none of the young men of 
this village being foolish enough to join them. 

A moment after, a report was brought that a 
canoe had just arrived from Niagara. As this 
was a place from which everyone was anxious 
to hear news, a message was sent to these fresh 
strangers requesting them to come to the 

The strangers came accordingly, and being 
seated, a long silence ensued. At length one of 
them, taking up a belt of wampum, addressed 
himself thus to the assembly: 

"My friends and brothers, I am come, with 
this belt, from our great father, Sir William 
Johnson. 68 He desired me to come to you as 

68 Sir William Johnson was a native of Ireland (born 
1715) who came to America at an early age. Settling in 



his ambassador, and tell you that he is making 
a great feast at Fort Niagara; that his kettles 
are all ready, and his fires lit. He invites you 
to partake of the feast, in common with your 
friends, the Six Nations, which have all made 
peace with the English. He advises you to 
seize this opportunity of doing the same, as you 
cannot otherwise fail of being destroyed; for 
the English are on their march with a great 
army, which will be joined by different nations 
of Indians. In a word, before the fall of the 
leaf they will be at Michilimackinac, and the 
Six Nations 69 with them. " 

The tenor of this speech greatly alarmed the 
Indians of the Sault, who after a very short 
consultation agreed to send twenty deputies 
to Sir William Johnson at Niagara. This was 
a project highly interesting to me, since it 
offered me the means of leaving the country. 
I intimated this to the chief of the village, and 

the Mohawk Valley, he was adopted by the Iroquois, 
over whom he acquired great influence, becoming the 
most noted and successful Indian agent in British 
America. Johnson played an active and notable part in 
the Seven Years' War, and in 1761, upon the fall of 
Montreal, journeyed to Detroit to reconcile the western 
tribesmen to the British cause. It was from this coun- 
cil that the troops were sent out to garrison Mackinac 
and the other posts around the Lakes. Johnson died at 
his home, "Johnson Hall," in 1774. Editor. 

69 These were the confederated tribes of the Iroquois, 
ancient and inveterate enemies of the Chippewa. 


received his promise that I should accompany 
the deputation. 

Very little time was proposed to be lost in 
setting forward on the voyage; but the occa- 
sion was of too much magnitude not to call 
for more than human knowledge and dis- 
cretion; and preparations were accordingly 
made for solemnly invoking and consulting the 
Great Turtle. 70 

70 The Great Turtle was the chief among the guardian 
spirits of the Chippewa. Editor. 

1 60 

Chapter 21 


T"""Y)R invoking and consulting the Great 
|H Turtle the first thing to be done was the 
building of a large house or wigwam, within 
which was placed a species of tent for the use 
of the priest and reception of the spirit. The 
tent was formed of moose-skins, hung over a 
framework of wood. Five poles, or rather 
pillars, of five different species of timber, 
about ten feet in height and eight inches in 
diameter were set in a circle of about four feet 
in diameter. The holes made to receive them 
were about two feet deep; and the pillars being 
set, the holes were filled up again, with the 
earth which had been dug out. At top the 
pillars were bound together by a circular hoop, 
or girder. Over the whole of this edifice were 
spread the moose-skins, covering it at top and 
round the sides, and made fast with thongs of 
the same; except that on one -side a part was 
left unfastened, to admit of the entrance of the 

The ceremonies did not commence but with 
the approach of night. To give light within the 
house several fires were kindled round the 
tent. Nearly the whole village assembled in 
the house, and myself among the rest. It was 

not long before the priest appeared almost in a 
state of nakedness. As he approached the tent 
the skins were lifted up as much as was neces- 
sary to allow of his creeping under them on 
his hands and knees. His head was scarcely 
within side when the edifice, massy as it has 
been described, began to shake; and the skins 
were no sooner let fall than the sounds of 
numerous voices were heard beneath them, 
some yelling, some barking as dogs, some 
howling like wolves; and in this horrible concert 
were mingled screams and sobs, as of despair, 
anguish, and the sharpest pain. Articulate 
speech was also uttered, as if from human lips; 
but in a tongue unknown to any of the 

After some time these confused and frightful 
noises were succeeded by a perfect silence; 
and now a voice not heard before seemed to 
manifest the arrival of a new character in the 
tent. This was a low and feeble voice, resem- 
bling the cry of a young puppy. The sound 
was no sooner distinguished, than all the 
Indians clapped their hands for joy, exclaiming 
that this was the Chief Spirit, the Turtle, the 
spirit that never lied. Other voices which they 
had discriminated from time to time they had 
previously hissed, as recognizing them to 
belong to evil and lying spirits, which deceive 

New sounds came from the tent. During 
the space of half an hour, a succession of songs 


were heard, in which a diversity of voices met 
the ear. From his first entrance till these songs 
were finished we heard nothing in the proper 
voice of the priest; but now he addressed 
the multitude, declaring the presence of the 
Great Turtle and the spirit's readiness to an- 
swer such questions as should be proposed. 

The questions were to come from the chief 
of the village, who was silent, however, till 
after he had put a large quantity of tobacco 
into the tent, introducing it at the aperture. 
This was a sacrifice, offered to the spirit; for 
spirits are supposed by the Indians to be as 
fond of tobacco as themselves. The tobacco 
accepted, he desired the priest to inquire 
whether or not the English were preparing to 
make war upon the Indians ? and whether or 
not there were at Fort Niagara a large number 
of English troops ? 

These questions having been put by the 
priest, the tent instantly shook; and for some 
seconds after it continued to rock so violently 
that I expected to see it levelled with the 
ground. All this was a prelude, as I supposed, 
to the answers to be given; but a terrific cry 
announced, with sufficient intelligibility, the 
departure of the Turtle. 

A quarter of an hour elapsed in silence, and 
I waited impatiently to discover what was to 
be the next incident in this scene of imposture. 
It consisted in the return of the spirit, whose 
voice was again heard, and who now delivered 



a continued speech. The language of the Great 
Turtle, like that which we had heard before, 
was wholly unintelligible to every ear, that of 
his priest excepted; and it was, therefore, that 
not till the latter gave us an interpretation, 
which did not commence before the spirit had 
finished, that we learned the purport of this 
extraordinary communication. 

The spirit, as we were now informed by the 
priest, had during his short absence crossed 
Lake Huron and even proceeded as far as 
Fort Niagara, which is at the head of Lake 
Ontario, and thence to Montreal. At Fort 
Niagara he had seen no great number of 
soldiers; but on descending the St. Lawrence as- 
low as Montreal, he had found the river 
covered with boats and the boats filled with 
soldiers, in number like the leaves of the trees. 
He had met them on their way up the river, 
coming to make war upon the Indians. 

The chief had a third question to propose, 
and the spirit, without a fresh journey to Fort 
Niagara, was able to give it an instant and 
most favorable answer: "If," said the chief, 
"the Indians visit Sir William Johnson, will 
they be received as friends?" 

"Sir William Johnson," said the spirit 
(and after the spirit, the priest) "Sir William 
Johnson will fill their canoes with presents; 
with blankets, kettles, guns, gunpowder and 
shot, and large barrels of rum such as the 
stoutest of the Indians will not be able to lift; 



and every man will return in safety to his 

At this the transport was universal; and 
amid the clapping of hands, a hundred voices 
exclaimed, " I will go, too ! I will go, too ! " 

The question of public interest being re- 
solved, individuals were now permitted to 
seize the opportunity of inquiring into the 
condition of their absent friends, and the fate 
of such as were sick. I observed that the 
answers given to these questions allowed of 
much latitude of interpretation* 

Amid this general inquisitiveness I yielded 
to the solicitations of my own anxiety for the 
future, and having first, like the rest, made 
my offering of tobacco, I inquired, whether or 
not I should ever revisit my native country. 
The question being put by the priest, the tent 
shook as usual; after which I received this 
answer: That I should take courage and 
fear no danger, for that nothing would happen 
to hurt me; and that I should in the end reach 
my friends and country in safety. These 
assurances wrought so strongly on my gratitude 
that I presented an additional and extra 
offering of tobacco. 

The Great Turtle continued to be consulted 
till nearly midnight, when all the crowd dis- 
persed to their respective lodges. I was on the 
watch through the scene I have described to 
detect the particular contrivances by which 
the fraud was carried on; but such was the skill 



displayed in the performance, or such my de- 
ficiency of penetration, that I made no dis- 
coveries, but came away as I went, with no 
more than those general surmises which will 
naturally be entertained by every reader. 71 

On the tenth of June I embarked with the 
Indian deputation, composed of sixteen men. 
Twenty had been the number originally de- 
signed; and upwards of fifty actually engaged 
themselves to the council for the undertaking, 
to say nothing of the general enthusiasm at 
the moment of hearing the Great Turtle's 
promises. But exclusively of the degree of 
timidity which still prevailed, we are to take 
into account the various domestic calls, which 
might supersede all others, and detain many 
with their families. 

71 M. de Champlain has left an account of an exhibi- 
tion of the nature here described, which may be seen in 
Charlevoix's Histoire el Description Generate de la 
Nouvelle France, Livre IV. This took place in the year 
1609, and was performed among a party of warriors 
composed of Algonquin, Montagnez, and Hurons. 
Carver witnessed another among the Cristinaux. In 
each case the details are somewhat different, but the 
outline is the same. M. de Champlain mentions that 
he saw the jongleur shake the stakes or pillars of the 
tent. I was not so fortunate; but this is the obvious 
explanation of that part of the mystery to which it 
refers. Captain Carver leaves the whole in darkness. 


Chapter 22 


IN the evening of the second day of our 
voyage we reached the mouth of the Missi- 
saki, where we found about forty Indians, 
by whom we were received with abundant 
kindness, and at night regaled at a great feast, 
held on account of our arrival. The viand was 
a preparation of the roe of the sturgeon, beat up 
and boiled, and of the consistence of porridge. 

After eating, several speeches were made to 
us, of which the general topic was a request 
that we should recommend the village to Sir 
William Johnson. This request was also spe- 
cially addressed to me, and I promised to 
comply with it. 

On the fourteenth of June we passed the 
village of La Cloche, of which the greater part 
of the inhabitants were absent, being already 
on a visit to Sir William Johnson. This cir- 
cumstance greatly encouraged the companions 
of my voyage, who now saw that they were 
not the first to run into danger. 

The next day about noon, the wind blowing 
very hard, we were obliged to put ashore at 
Point aux Grondines, a place of which some 
description has been given above. 72 While 

72 See ante, p. 33. Editor. 

the Indians erected a hut, I employed myself 
in making a fire. As I was gathering wood, 
an unusual sound fixed my attention for a 
moment; but as it presently ceased, and as I 
saw nothing from which I could suppose it to 
proceed, I continued my employment, till, 
advancing farther, I was alarmed by a repeti- 
tion. I imagined that it came from above 
my head; but after looking that way in vain, I 
cast my eyes on the ground and there dis- 
covered a rattlesnake, at not more than two 
feet from my naked legs. The reptile was 
coiled, and its head raised considerably above 
its body. Had I advanced another step before 
my discovery I must have trodden upon it. 

I no sooner saw the snake than I hastened 
to the canoe, in order to procure my gun; but 
the Indians, observing what I was doing, in- 
quired the occasion, and being informed, 
begged me to desist. At the same time they 
followed me to the spot, with their pipes and 
tobacco-pouches in their hands. On returning, 
I found the snake still coiled. 

The Indians on their part surrounded it, all 
addressing it by turns, and calling it their 
grandfather; but yet keeping at some distance. 
During this part of the ceremony they filled 
their pipes; and now each blew the smoke 
toward the snake, who, as it appeared to me, 
really received it with pleasure. In a word, 
after remaining coiled and receiving incense 
for the space of half an hour, it stretched itself 



along the ground in visible good humor. Its 
length was between four and five feet. Having 
remained outstretched for some time, at last 
it moved slowly away, the Indians following it 
and still addressing it by the title of grand- 
father, beseeching it to take care of their 
families during their absence, and to be pleased 
to open the heart of Sir William Johnson so 
that he might show them charity and fill their 
canoe with rum. 

One of the chiefs added a petition that the 
snake would take no notice of the insult which 
had been offered him by the Englishman, who 
would even have put him to death but for the 
interference of the Indians, to whom it was 
hoped he would impute no part of the 
offense. They further requested that he would 
remain and inhabit their country, and not 
return among the English; that is, go east- 

After the rattlesnake was gone, I learned 
that this was the first time that an individual 
of the species had been seen so far to the north- 
ward and westward of the River Des Francais, 
a circumstance, moreover, from which my 
companions were disposed to infer that this 
manito had come, or been sent, on purpose to 
meet them; that his errand had been no other 
than to stop them on their way; and that con- 
sequently it would be most advisable to return 
to the point of departure. I was so fortunate, 
however, as to prevail with them to embark, 

and at six o'clock in the evening we again 
encamped. Very little was spoken of through 
the evening, the rattlesnake excepted. 

Early the next morning we proceeded. We 
had a serene sky and very little wind, and the 
Indians, therefore, determined on steering 
across the lake to an island which just appeared 
in the horizon; saving, by this course, a dis- 
tance of thirty miles, which would be lost in 
keeping the shore. At nine o'clock, A. M., we 
had a light breeze astern, to enjoy the benefit of 
which we hoisted sail. Soon after the wind 
increased and the Indians, beginning to be 
alarmed, frequently called on the rattlesnake 
to come to their assistance. By degrees the 
waves grew high; and at eleven o'clock it blew 
a hurricane and we expected every moment to 
be swallowed up. From prayers the Indians 
now proceeded to sacrifices, both alike offered 
to the god-rattlesnake, or manito-kinibic. One 
of the chiefs took a dog, and after tying its 
fore-legs together threw it overboard, at the 
same time calling on the snake to preserve us 
from being drowned, and desiring him to sat- 
isfy his hunger with the carcass of the dog. 
The snake was unpropitious, and the wind 
increased. Another chief sacrificed another 
dog, with the addition of some tobacco. In 
the prayer which accompanied these gifts he 
besought the snake, as before, not to avenge 
upon the Indians the insult which he had 
received from myself, in the conception of a 

design to put him to death. He assured the 
snake that I was absolutely an Englishman, 
and of kin neither to him nor to them. 

At the conclusion of this speech an Indian, 
who sat near me, observed that if we were 
drowned it would be for my fault alone, and 
that I ought myself to be sacrificed to appease 
the angry manito; nor was I without appre- 
hensions that in case of extremity this would 
be my fate; but happily for me the storm at 
length abated, and we reached the island 

The next day was calm and we arrived at the 
entrance 73 of the navigation which leads to 
Lake aux Claies. 74 We presently passed two 
short carrying-places, at each of which were 
several lodges of Indians, 75 containing only 
women and children, the men being gone to 
the council at Niagara. From this, as from a 
former instance, my companions derived new 

On the eighteenth of June we crossed Lake 
aux Claies, which appeared to be upward 
of twenty miles in length. At its farther end 

73 This is the Bay of Matchedash, or Matchitashk. 

74 This lake, which is now called Lake Simcoe, lies 
between Lakes Huron and Ontario. Author. 

75 These Indians are called Chippewas, of the par- 
ticular description called Missisakies; and from 
their residence at Matchedash, or Matchitashk, 
also called Matchedash or Matkitashk Indians. 


we came to the carrying-place of Toranto. 76 
Here the Indians obliged me to carry a burden 
of more than a hundred pounds weight. The 
day was very hot and the woods and marshes 
abounded with mosquitoes; but the Indians 
walked at a quick pace, and I could by no 
means see myself left behind. The whole 
country was a thick forest, through which our 
only road was a footpath, or such as in America 
is exclusively termed an Indian path. 

Next morning at ten o'clock we reached the 
shore of Lake Ontario. Here we were employed 
two days in making canoes out of the bark of 
the elm tree in which we were to transport 
ourselves to Niagara. For this purpose the 
Indians first cut down a tree; then stripped off 
the bark in one entire sheet of about eighteen 
feet in length, the incision being lengthwise. 
The canoe was now complete as to its top, bot- 
tom, and sides. Its ends were next closed by 
sewing the bark together; and a few ribs and 
bars being introduced, the architecture was 
finished. In this manner we made two canoes, 
of which one carried eight men and the other 

On the twenty-first we embarked at Toranto 

76 Toranto, or Toronto, is the name of a French trad- 
ing-house on Lake Ontario, built near the site of the 
present town of York, the capital of the province of 
Upper Canada. Author. 

"The present town of York" has since become, by a 
happy transformation, the modern city of Toronto. 



and encamped, in the evening, four miles 
short of Fort Niagara, which the Indians 
would not approach till morning. 

At dawn the Indians were awake, and pres- 
ently assembled in council, still doubtful as 
to the fate they were to encounter. I assured 
them of the most friendly welcome; and at 
length, after painting themselves with the most 
lively colors in token of their own peaceable 
views, and after singing the song which is in 
use among them on going into danger, they 
embarked and made for Point Missisaki, 
which is on the north side of the mouth of the 
river or strait of Niagara, as the fort is on the 
south. 77 A few minutes after, I crossed over to 
the fort; and here I was received by Sir Wil- 
liam Johnson in a manner for which I have 
ever been gratefully attached to his person and 

Thus was completed my escape from the 
sufferings and dangers which the capture of 
Fort Michilimackinac brought upon me; but 
the property which I had carried into the 
Upper Country was left behind. The reader 
will, therefore, be far from attributing to me 
any idle or unaccountable motive when he 
finds me returning to the scene of my mis- 

77 The course of the Niagara is almost due north and 
south. Fort Niagara was on the east side of the river, 
Point Mississaga on the west. 


Chapter 23 


A Fort Niagara I found General Brad- 
street 78 with a force of three thousand 
men, preparing to embark for Detroit 
with a view to raise the siege which it had sus- 
tained against Pontiac, for twelve months 
together. The English in this time had lost 
many men; and Pontiac had been frequently 
on the point of carrying the place, though 
gallantly defended by Major Gladwyn, its 
commandant. 79 

General Bradstreet, having learned my his- 
tory, informed me that it was his design, on 

78 Bradstreet was at this time a colonel. A native of 
England, he had become a colonist by adoption and 
won distinction at the siege of Louisburg in 1745. His 
service in the Seven Years' War won for him the rank of 
colonel, but on the expedition against the western 
Indians, to which Henry became attached, Bradstreet's 
conduct was far from notable. He became a general in 
1772, and died at Detroit two years later. Editor. 

79 The classic account of the siege of Detroit is by 
Francis Parkman in his Conspiracy of Pontiac. Henry 
Gladwin, commander at Detroit, had come to America 
as a lieutenant in 1 755. He was wounded in Braddock's 
Defeat of that year, and again at Ticonderoga in 1758. 
He served efficiently throughout the war, and upon the 
conclusion of Pontiac's War returned (in 1764) to 
England. In 1782 he became a major-general, dying 
nine years afterward. Editor. 


Crafcdg anfc 

arriving at Detroit, to detach a body of troops 
to Michilimackinac, and politely assured me 
of his services in recovering my property there. 
With these temptations before me I was easily 
induced to follow the General to Detroit. 

But I was not to go as a mere looker-on. On 
the contrary, I was invested with the honor of a 
command in a corps, of the exploits, however, 
of which I can give no flattering account. 

Besides the sixteen Saulteurs, or Chippe- 
wa, of the Sault de Ste. Marie, with whom I 
had come to Fort Niagara, there were already 
at that place eighty Matchedash Indians, the 
same whose lodges we passed at the carrying- 
places of Lake aux Claies. These ninety-six 
men being formed into what was called the 
Indian Battalion, were furnished with neces- 
saries, and I was appointed to be their leader 
me, whose best hope it had very lately been to 
live through their forbearance. 

On the tenth of July the army marched for 
Fort Schlausser, 80 a stockaded post above the 
Great Falls, and I ordered my Indians to march 
also. Only ten of the whole number were ready 
at the call, but the rest promised to follow the 
next morning. With my skeleton battalion, 
therefore, I proceeded to the fort, and there 
waited the whole of the next day, impatiently 

80 Fort Schlosser was built by the British in 1759 at 
the upper end of the portage around Niagara Falls. 
Near here, on September 13, 1763, occurred the mas- 
sacre of Devil's Hole. Editor. 


expecting the remainder. I waited in vain; and 
the day following returned to Fort Niagara, 
when I found that they had all deserted, going 
back to their homes, equipment and all, by 
the way of Toranto. I thought their conduct, 
though dishonest, not very extraordinary; 
since the Indians employed in the siege of 
Detroit, against whom we were leading them, 
were at peace with their nation, and their own 
friends and kinsmen. Amid the general deser- 
tion four Missisakies joined the ten whom I 
had left at Fort Schlausser. 

For the transport of the army on Lake Erie 
barges had been expressly built, capable of 
carrying a hundred men each, with their 
provisions. One of these was allowed to me and 
my Indians. 

On the fourteenth we embarked at Fort 
Schlausser, and in the evening encamped at 
Fort Erie. Here the Indians, growing drunk, 
amused themselves with a disorderly firing 
of their muskets in the camp. On this, General 
Bradstreet ordered all the rum in the Indian 
quarters to be seized and thrown away. The 
Indians, in consequence, threatened to desert; 
and the general, judging it proper to assume 
a high tone, immediately assembled the chiefs 
(for among the fourteen Indians there were 
more chiefs "than one) and told them that he had 
no further occasion for their services, and that 
such of them as should follow his camp would 
be considered as soldiers, and subjected to 


Cratoelg anfc 

military discipline accordingly. After hearing 
the General's speech, the majority set out for 
Fort Niagara the same evening, and thence 
returned to their own country by the way of 
Toranto; and thus was my poor battalion 
still further diminished! 

On our fifth day from Fort Schlausser we 
reached Presqu'isle, 81 where we dragged our 
barges over the neck of land, but not without 
straining their timbers; and with more loss of 
time, as I believe, than if we had rowed 
round. On the twentieth day we were off the 
mouth of the river which falls into Sandusky 
Bay, where a council of war was held on the 
question whether it were more advisable to 
attack and destroy the Indian villages on the 
Miami or to proceed for Detroit direct. Early 
the next morning, it having been determined 
that, considering the villages were populous as 
well as hostile, it was necessary to destroy 
them, we entered the Miami; but were pres- 
ently met by a deputation offering peace. 
The offer was accepted; but it was not till after 
two days, during which we had begun to be 
doubtful of the enemy's intention, that the 
chiefs arrived. 

When they came, a sort of armistice was 

81 Modern Erie, Pennsylvania. The French had had 
a post here, which was abandoned and burned after the 
fall of Montreal in 1760, in advance of the coming of 
the English. The latter arrived on July 17, and pro- 
ceeded to rebuild the fort. Editor. 


agreed upon; 82 and they promised to meet the 
General at Detroit within fifteen days. At 
that place terms of peace were to be settled 
in a general council. On the eighth of August 
we landed at Detroit. 88 

The Indians of the Miami were punctual, 
and a general peace was concluded. Pontiac, 
who could do nothing against the force which 
was now opposed to him and who saw himself 
abandoned by his followers, unwilling to trust 
his fortunes with the English, fled to the 
Illinois. 84 

82 This occurred at Presque Isle, rather than Sandus- 
ky. Bradstreet's highly injudicious procedure in this 
connection was promptly disavowed by his superior 
officers. "They have negotiated with you on Lake 
Erie, and cut our throats upon the frontiers," wrote 
General Gage to Bradstreet on October 15, and in this 
.and other communications' he spoke bitterly of Brad- 
street's conduct. Editor. 

83 Bradstreet's army reached Detroit on August 26. 

84 It is very possible, nevertheless, that Pontiac sub- 
sequently joined the English, and that a portion of 
what is related by Carver concerning his latter history 
and death is true. It cannot, however, be intended to 
insinuate that an English governor was party to the 

"Pontiac henceforward seemed to have laid aside the 
animosity he had hitherto borne towards the English, 
and apparently became their zealous friend. To re- 
ward this new attachment, and to insure a continuance 
of it, government allowed him a handsome pension. 
But his restless and intriguing spirit would not suffer 
him to be grateful for this allowance, and his conduct 
at length grew suspicious; so that going, in the year 

178 , 


On the day following that of the treaty of 
peace, Captain Howard was detached, with 
two companies and three hundred Canadian 
volunteers, for Fort Michilimackinac; 85 and 
I embarked at the same time. 
1767, to hold a council in the country of the Illinois, a 
faithful Indian, who was either commissioned by one 
of the English governors, or instigated by the love he 
bore the English nation, attended him as a spy; and 
being convinced from the speech of Pontiac made in 
the council, that he still retained his former prejudices 
against those for whom he now professed a friendship, 
he plunged his knife into his heart, as soon as he had 
done speaking, and laid him dead on the spot." 

Pontiac relapsed into obscurity following the un- 
successful ending of the war against the English which 
he had originated and led. In 1 769, while paying a 
visit to St. Louis, he crossed the river to Cahokia and 
was there slain by a Kaskaskia Indian who was bribed 
thereto by an English trader for the present of a barrel 
of rum. His body was carried across the river to St. 
Louis and there buried. "For a mausoleum," says 
Parkman, "a city has arisen above the forest hero; and 
the race whom he hated with such burning rancor 
trample with unceasing footsteps over his forgotten 
grave." Editor. 

86 The figures have been transposed by Henry; 
Captain Howard had 300 English troops and two 
companies of Canadians of fifty men each. In 1775 
Governor Hamilton of Detroit reported to General 
Guy Carleton that he had been informed "by a person 
of character here " that Colonel Bradstreet had prom- 
ised to pay the Canadians who went with Captain 
Howard half a dollar per day, which was never given 
them, "tho they had neglected their harvest and 
returned half naked. Such a precedent," continued 
Hamilton, "must be of the worst consequence and I 



From Detroit to the mouth of Lake Huron 
is called a distance of eighty miles. From the 
fort to Lake St. Claire, which is only seven 
miles, the lands are cultivated on both sides 
of the strait, and appeared to be laid out in 
very comfortable farms. In the strait, on 
the right hand is a village of Huron, and at the 
mouth of Lake St. Claire a village of Ottawa. 
We met not a single Indian on our voyage, the 
report of the arrival of the English army having 
driven every one from the shores of the lake. 

On our arrival at Michilimackinac the 
Ottawa of L'Arbre Croche were sent for to 
the fort. They obeyed the summons, bringing 
with them some Chippewa .chiefs, and peace 
was concluded with both. 

For myself, having much property due to me 
at Ste. Marie's, I resolved on spending the 
winter at that place. I was in part successful; 
and in the spring I returned to Michilimackinac. 

The pause which I shall here make in my 
narrative might with some propriety have been 
placed at the conclusion of the preceding 
chapter; but it is here that my first series of 
adventures are brought truly to an end. What 
remains belongs to a second enterprise, wholly 
independent of the preceding. 

mention the fact to your Excellency as it has left a deep 
impression upon those who were sufferers from such 
a dishonorable breach of word and credit." R. G. 
Thwaites and L. P. Kellogg Revolution on the Upper 
Ohio (Madison, 1908), 133-34. Editor. 



NORTHWEST, 1765-76 


UNDER the French government of Can- 
ada the fur trade was subject to a 
variety of regulations, established and 
enforced by the royal authority; and in 1765, 
the period at which I began to prosecute it 
anew, some remains of the ancient system were 
still preserved. No person could go into the 
countries lying north-westward of Detroit un- 
less furnished with a license; and the exclusive 
trade of particular districts was capable of 
being enjoyed in virtue of grants from military 

The exclusive trade of Lake Superior was 
given to myself by the commandant of Fort 
Michilimackinac; and to prosecute it I pur- 
chased goods, which I found at this post, at 
twelve months' credit. My stock was the 
freight of four canoes, and I took it at the price 
of ten thousand pounds weight of good and 
merchantable beaver. It is in beaver that 
accounts are kept at Michilimackinac; but in 
defect of this article, other furs and skins are 
accepted in payments, being first reduced unto 
their value in beaver. Beaver was at this time 
at the price of two shillings and six pence per 
pound, Michilimackinac currency; otter skins, 


at six shillings each; marten, at one shilling 
and six pence, and others in proportion. 

To carry the goods to my wintering ground 
in Lake Superior, I engaged twelve men at 
two hundred and fifty livres, of the same cur- 
rency, each; that is, a hundred pounds weight 
of beaver. For provisions, I purchased fifty 
bushels of maize at ten pounds of beaver per 
bushel. At this place specie was so wholly out 
of the question that in going to a cantine, 1 you 
took with you a marten's skin, to pay your 
reckoning. 2 

On the fourteenth of July, 1765 I embarked 
for the Sault de Ste. Marie, where, on my arrival, 
I took into partnership M. Cadotte, whom I 
have already had frequent occasion to name; 
and on the 26th I proceeded for my wintering 
ground, which was to be fixed at Chagouemig. 3 

1 The post canteen. Editor. 

2 See Part One, chapter v. Author. 

3 Modern Chequamegon Bay, near whose head stands 
the city of Ashland, Wisconsin. In this vicinity is one 
of the oldest centers of French activity in the interior of 
the continent. Here two daring traders, Groseilliers and 
Radisson, established headquarters two decades before 
William Penn founded the City of Brotherly Love. 
Here for four years, beginning in October, 1665, Father 
Allouez labored unavailingly to soften the hearts of the 
contumacious red men. From here Father Marquette 
followed the Ottawa and Huron bands, fleeing eastward 
before the avenging Sioux, to establish at the Straits 
of Mackinac the mission of St. Ignace. Following 
Radisson and Groseilliers came a long succession of 
traders whose names have now become commonplaces 



The next morning I crossed the Strait of 
Ste. Marie, or of Lake Superior, to a point 
which the Chippewa call the Grave of the 
Iroquois. 4 To this name there belongs a 
tradition that the Iroquois, who at a certain 
time made war upon the Chippewa, with the 
design of dispossessing them of their country, 
encamped one night a thousand strong upon 
this point; where, thinking themselves secure 
from their numbers, they indulged in feasting 
on the bodies of their prisoners. The sight, 
however, of the sufferings and humiliation of 
their kindred and friends so wrought upon 
the Chippewa, who beheld them from the 
opposite shore, that with the largest number 
of warriors they could collect, but which 
amounted only to three hundred, they crossed 
the channel and at break of day fell upon the 
Iroquois, now sleeping after their excesses, and 
put one and all to death. Of their own party, 
they lost but a single man; and he died of a 

in the history of the Northwest Duluth, Le Sueur, 
La Ronde, Henry, the Cadottes, the Warren brothers, 
and others. For the early history of the place see 
Thwaites, "Story of Chequamegon Bay" in Wis. 
Hist. Colls., XIII, 397-425. Editor. 

4 Iroquois Point is in modem Chippewa County, 
Michigan. Nearby is the village of Iroquois. The 
tragedy which gave their names to point and village 
occurred in 1662. A detailed narrative of the affair 
by Perrot is in Emma H. Blair's Indian Tribes of the 
Upper Mississippi Valley and Region of the Great Lakes 
(Cleveland, 1911), I, 178-80. Editor. 


wound which he received from an old woman, 
who stabbed him with an. awl. She was at 
work, making shoes for the family, when he 
broke into the lodge, near the entrance of which 
she sat. Some of the old men of my crew 
remembered at this place to have seen bones. 

On the lake we fell in with Indians, of whom 
I purchased provisions. One party agreed to 
accompany me, to hunt for me, on condition of 
being supplied with necessaries on credit. 

On the nineteenth of August we reached the 
mouth of the river Ontonagan, one of the 
largest on the south side of the lake. At the 
mouth was an Indian village; and at three 
leagues above, a fall, at the foot of which 
sturgeon were at this season so abundant that 
a month's subsistence for a regiment could 
have been taken in a few hours. 

But I found this river chiefly remarkable for 
the abundance of virgin copper which is on 
its banks and in its neighborhood, and of which 
the reputation is at present more generally 
spread than it was at the time of this my first 
visit. The attempts which were shortly after 
made to work the mines of Lake Superior to 
advantage will very soon claim a place among 
the facts which I am to describe. 

The copper presented itself to the eye in 
masses of various weight. The Indians showed 
me one of twenty pounds. They were used to 
manufacture this metal into spoons and brace- 
lets for themselves. In the perfect state in 
1 86 

Cratoelg anfc 

which they found it, it required nothing but to 
be beat into shape. The Pi-wa-tic, or Iron 
River, 6 enters the lake to the westward of the 
Ontonagan; and here, as is pretended, silver 
was found while the country was in the pos- 
session of the French. 

Beyond this river I met more Indians, whom 
I furnished with merchandise on credit. The 
prices were, for a stroud blanket, ten beaver- 
skins; for a white blanket, eight; a pound of 
powder, two; a pound of shot, or of ball, one; 
a gun, twenty; an axe of one pound weight, 
two; a knife, one. Beaver, it will be remem- 
bered, was worth at Michilimackinac two 
shillings and sixpence a pound, in the cur- 
rency of that place; that is, six livres, or a 

On my arrival at Chagouemig I found fifty 
lodges of Indians there. These people were 
almost naked, their trade having been inter- 
rupted, first by the English invasion of Canada 
and next by Pontiac's War. 

Adding the Indians of Chagouemig to those 
which I had brought with me, I had now a 
hundred families, to all of whom I was required 
to advance goods on credit. At a council 
which I was invited to attend, the men de- 
clared that unless their demands were complied 
with their wives and children would perish; 
for that there were neither ammunition nor 

* Modern Iron River, in Ontonagon County, Michi- 
gan. Editor. 


clothing left among them. Under these circum- 
stances I saw myself obliged to distribute goods 
to the amount of three thousand beaver-skins. 
This done, the Indians went on their hunt, at 
the distance of a hundred leagues. A clerk, 
acting as my agent, accompanied them to 
Fond du Lac, 6 taking with him two loaded 
canoes. Meanwhile, at the expense of six 
days' labor I was provided with a very com- 
fortable house for my winter's residence. 

6 At or near the site of modern Superior, Wisconsin. 


Chapter 2 


CHAGOUEMIG, or Chagouemigon, might 
at this period be regarded as the metrop- 
olis of the Chippewa, of whom the 
true name is O'chibbuoy. The chiefs informed 
me that they had frequently attacked the 
Nadowessies (by the French called Sioux or 
Nadouessioux) with whom they are always 
at war, with fifteen hundred men including 
in this number the fighting men from Fond du 
Lac, or the head of Lake Superior. The cause 
of the perpetual war carried on between these 
two nations, is this, that both claim as their 
exclusive hunting ground the tract of country 
which lies between them, and uniformly attack 
each other when they meet upon it. 7 

7 This immemorial warfare between the Chippewa 
and the Sioux was continued until almost our own day. 
In August, 1919, there died at Beaulieu, Minnesota, a 
Chippewa chief (Mayzhuckegeshig) who in earlier life 
had repeatedly led his braves to battle against the 
Sioux. When a warrior distinguished himself in battle 
by killing and scalping his foeman he was usually 
decorated with a feather from a war eagle. Some 
indication alike of the prowess and of the manner of life 
of Mayzhuckegeshig in his earlier years is afforded by 
the fact that he had accumulated some twenty of these 
prized trophies. In 1825 Governor Cass met the Sioux 
and the Chippewa in council at Prairie du Chien, 

The Chippewa of Chagouemig are a hand- 
some, well-made people; and much more 
cleanly, as well as much more regular in the 
government of their families, than the Chip- 
pewa of Lake Huron. The women have agree- 
able features and take great pains in dressing 
their hair, which consists in neatly dividing it 
on the forehead and top of the head and in 
plaiting and turning it up behind. The men 
paint as well their whole body as their face; 
sometimes with charcoal, and sometimes with 
white ocher; and appear to study how to make 
themselves as unlike as possible to anything 
human. The clothing in which I found them, 
both men and women, was chiefly of dressed 
deer-skin, European manufactures having been 
for some time out of their reach. In this re- 
spect, it was not long after my goods were dis- 
persed among them before they were scarcely 
to be known for the same people. The wom- 
en heightened the color of their cheeks, and 

Wisconsin, in an effort to arrange their boundary 
disputes and thus end the interminable warfare between 
the two tribes. When he asked the Sioux chiefs on what 
ground they claimed the territory in dispute they an- 
swered, "by possession and occupation from our fore- 
fathers. " Turning to the Chippewa, ^Cass put the same 
question, to which the noted Hole-in-the-Day, rising 
with a graceful gesture, replied: "My Father, we 
claim it on the same ground that you claim this country 
from the British king by conquest. We drove them 
from the country by force of arms, and have since 
occupied it; and they dare not try to dispossess us of 
our habitations. " Editor. 

190 ' 

Crafcelg anU 

really animated thei^ beauty, by a liberal use 
of vermilion. 

My house being completed, my winter's 
food was the next object; and for this purpose, 
with the assistance of my men, I soon took two 
thousand trout and whitefish, the former fre- 
quently weighing fifty pounds each and the 
latter commonly from four to six. We pre- 
served them by suspending them by the tail in 
the open air. These, without bread or salt, 
were our food through all the winter, the men 
being free to consume what quantity they 
pleased and boiling or roasting them whenever 
they thought proper. After leaving Michili- 
mackinac I saw no bread; and I found less 
difficulty in reconciling myself to the privation 
than I could have anticipated. 

On the fifteenth of December the Bay of 
Chagouemig was frozen entirely over. After 
this I resumed my former amusement of spear- 
ing trout, and sometimes caught a hundred of 
these fish in a day, each weighing on an average 
twenty pounds. 

My house, which stood in the bay, was shel- 
tered by an island of fifteen miles in length, 8 
and between which and the main the channel 
is four miles broad. On the island there was 
formerly a French trading-post, much fre- 
quented; and in its neighborhood a large 
Indian village. To the south-east is a lake, 
called Lake des Outaouais, from the Ottawa. 

8 Modern Madelaine Island. Editor. 


its former possessors 9 ; but it is now the prop- 
erty of the Chippewa. 

From the first hunting party which brought 
me furs I experienced some disorderly be- 
havior; but happily without serious issue. 
Having crowded into my house and demanded 
rum, which I refused them, they talked 
of indulging themselves in a general pillage, 
and I found myself abandoned by all my men. 
Fortunately I was able to arm myself; and on 
my threatening to shoot the first who should 
lay his hands on anything, the tumult began 
to subside and was presently after at an end. 
When over, my men appeared to be truly 
ashamed of their cowardice, and made promises 
never to behave in a similar manner again. 

Admonished of my danger, I now resolved 
on burying the liquor which I had; and the 
Indians, once persuaded that I had none to 

9 Lac Court Oreilles in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, 
about eighty miles southwest of Henry's wintering 
place. Hither the Ottawa fled in the seventeenth 
century, seeking refuge from the destroying Iroquois. 
Although they remained for but a brief period they 
returned to the place on subsequent hunting expedi- 
tions. The Ottawa acquired the sobriquet of Court 
Oreilles (short ears) not because they practiced clip- 
ping these organs, but because, unlike certain other 
tribes who distended the lobe by ornaments or weights, 
they left their ears in their natural condition. The 
Ottawa have long since disappeared from the vicinity 
of Lac Court Oreilles, where there is today an Indian 
reservation inhabited by several hundred Chippewa. 



give them, went and came very peaceably, 
paying their debts and purchasing goods. In 
the month of March the manufacture of maple 
sugar engaged, as usual, their attention. 

While the snow still lay on the ground, I 
proposed to the Indians to join me in a hunting 
excursion, and they readily agreed. Shortly 
after we went out my companions discovered 
dents or hollows in the snow, which they 
affirmed to be the footsteps of a bear, made in 
the beginning of the winter, after the first 
snow. As for me, I should have passed over 
the same ground without acquiring any such 
information; and probably without remarking 
the very faint traces which they were able to 
distinguish, and certainly without deducting 
so many particular facts: but what can be 
more credible than that long habits of close 
observation in the forest should give the Indian 
hunter some advantages in the exercise of his 
daily calling? The Indians were not deceived; 
for on following the traces which they had 
found they were led to a tree at the root of 
which was a bear. 

As I had proposed this hunt, I was by the 
Indian custom the master and the proprietor 
of all the game; but the head of the family 
which composed my party begged to have the 
bear, alleging that he much desired to make a 
feast to the Kichi Manito, or Great Spirit, who 
had preserved himself and his family through 
the winter and brought them in safety to the 


lake. On his receiving my consent, the women 
went to the spot where we had killed the bear 
and where the carcass had been left in safety, 
buried deep in the snow. They brought the 
booty back with them, and kettles being hung 
over the fires, the whole bear was dressed for 
the feast. 

About an hour after dark accompanied by 
four of my men I repaired to the place of 
sacrifice, according to invitation. The number 
of the Indians exactly equalled ours, there 
being two men and three women; so that 
together we were ten persons, upon whom it 
was incumbent to eat up the whole bear. I. was 
obliged to receive into my own plate, or dish, 
a portion of not less than ten pounds weight, 
and each of my men were supplied with twice 
this quantity. As to the Indians, one of them 
had to his share the head, the breast, the heart, 
with its surrounding fat, and all the four feet; 
and the whole of this he swallowed in two 
hours. He, as well as the rest, had finished be- 
fore I had got through half my toil; and my 
men were equally behindhand. In this situa- 
tion one of them resorted to an experiment 
which had a ludicrous issue, and which at the 
same time served to discover a fresh feature 
in the superstitions of the Indians. Having 
first observed to us that a part of the cheer 
would be very acceptable to him the next day, 
when his appetite should be returned, he with- 
drew a part of the contents of his dish and 


made it fast to the girdle which he wore under 
his shirt. While he disposed in this manner 
of his superabundance I, who found myself 
unable to perform my part, requested the 
Indians to assist me; and this they cheerfully 
did, eating what I had found too much with 
as much apparent ease as if their stomachs 
had been previously empty. The feast being 
brought to an end, and the prayer and thanks- 
giving pronounced, those near the door de- 
parted; but when the poor fellow who had 
concealed his meat, and who had to pass from 
the farther end of the lodge, rose up to go, two 
dogs, guided by the scent, laid hold of the 
treasure and tore it to the ground. The Indians 
were greatly astonished; but presently ob- 
served that the Great Spirit had led the dogs 
by inspiration to the act in order to frustrate the 
profane attempt to steal away this portion of 
the offering. As matters stood the course they 
took was to put the meat into the fire and there 
consume it. 

On the twentieth of April the ice broke up, 
and several canoes arrived filled with women 
and children who reported that the men of 
their band were all gone out to war against, the 
Nadowessies. On the fifteenth of May a part 
of the warriors, with some others, arrived in 
fifty canoes, almost every one of which had 
a cargo of furs. The warriors gave me some 
account of their campaign, stating that they 
had set out in search of the enemy four 

hundred strong and that on the fourth day 
from their leaving their village they had met 
the enemy and been engaged in battle. The 
battle, as they related, raged the greater part 
of the day and in the evening the Nadowessies 
to the number of six hundred fell back across 
a river which lay behind them, encamping 
in this position for the night. The Chippewa 
had thirty-five killed and they took advantage 
of the suspension of the fray to prepare the 
bodies of their friends, and then retired to a 
small distance from the place expecting the 
Nadowessies to recross the stream in the 
morning and come again to blows. In this, 
however, they were disappointed; for the 
Nadowessies continued their retreat without 
even doing the honors of war to the slain. To 
do these honors is to scalp, and to prepare the 
bodies is to dress and paint the remains of the 
dead, preparatorily to this mark of attention 
from the enemy: "The neglect," said the Chip- 
pewa, "was an affront to us a disgrace; be- 
cause we consider it an honor to have the scalps 
of our countrymen exhibited in- the villages 
of our enemies in testimony of our valor." 
The concourse of Indians already mentioned, 
with others who came after, all rich in furs, 
enabled me very speedily to close my traffic for 
the spring, disposing of all the goods which on 
taking M. Cadotte into partnership had been 
left in my own hands. I found myself in pos- 
session of a hundred and fifty packs of beaver 


weighing a hundred pounds each, besides 
twenty-five packs of otter and marten skins; 
and with this part of the fruits of my adventure 
I embarked for Michilimackinac, sailing in 
company with fifty canoes of Indians who had 
still a hundred packs of beaver which I was 
unable to purchase. 

On my way I encamped a second time at the 
mouth of the Ontonagan and now took the 
opportunity of going ten miles up the river 
with Indian guides. The object which I went 
most expressly to see, and to which I had the 
satisfaction of being led, was a mass of copper 
of the weight, according to my estimate, of no 
less than five tons. Such was its pure and mal- 
leable state, that with an axe I was able to cut 
off a portion weighing a hundred pounds. 10 
On viewing the surrounding surface I conjec- 
tured that the mass at some period or other 
had rolled from the side of a lofty hill which 
rises at its back. 

10 This mass of copper, later known as Copper Rock, 
was known to explorers from a very early period. At 
the time of the boom in the Copper Country in the 
early 'forties, possession was taken of Copper Rock by 
some miners from the lead-mines ot southern Wisconsin. 
It was later removed to the Smithsonian Institution 
at Washington. Editor. 



I PASSED the winter following at the Sault 
de Ste. Marie. Fish, at this place, are 
' usually so abundant in the autumn that 
precautions are not taken for a supply of 
provisions for the winter; but this year the 
fishery failed, and the early setting-in of the 
frost rendered it impracticable to obtain 
assistance from Michilimackinac. To the 
increase of our difficulties, five men, whom, on 
the prospect of distress, I had sent to subsist 
themselves at a distant post, came back on the 
day before Christmas, driven in by want. 

Under these circumstances, and having 
heard that fish might be found in Oak Bay, 
called by the French, Anse a la Pdche, or Fish- 
ing Cove, 11 which is on the north side of Lake 
Superior, at the distance of twelve leagues 
from the Sault, I lost no time in repairing 
thither, taking with me several men, with a 
pint of maize only for each person. 

In Oak Bay we were generally able to obtain 
a supply of food, sometimes doing so with great 
facility, but at others going to bed hungry. 

11 "Ance a la Pfiche" is shown on Bellin's map of 
Canada of 1745 as the indentation on the east side of 
modern Whitefish Bay into which the Goulais River 
empties. Editor. 



After being here a fortnight, we were joined by 
a body of Indians, flying, like ourselves, from 
famine. Two days after, there came a young 
Indian out of the woods alone, and reporting 
that he had left the family to which he be- 
longed behind in a starving condition and 
unable, from their weakly and exhausted state, 
to pursue their journey to the bay. The ap- 
pearance of this youth was frightful; and from 
his squalid figure there issued a stench which 
none of us could support. 

His arrival struck our camp with horror and 
uneasiness; and it was not long before the In- 
dians came to me, saying, that they suspected 
he had been eating human flesh, and even 
that he had killed and devoured the family 
which he pretended to have left behind. 

These charges, upon being questioned, he 
denied; but not without so much equivocation 
in his answers as to increase the presumption 
against him. In consequence, the Indians 
determined on traveling a day's journey on his 
track; observing that they should be able to 
discover from his encampments whether he 
were guilty or not. The next day they re- 
turned, bringing with them a human hand and 
skull. The hand had been left roasting before 
a fire, while the intestines, taken out of the 
body from which it was cut, hung fresh on a 
neighboring tree. 

The youth, being informed of these dis- 
coveries, and further questioned, confessed the 

crime of which he was accused. From the 
account he now proceeded to give it appeared 
that the family had consisted of his. uncle and 
aunt, their four children, and himself. One 
of the children was a boy of fifteen years of 
age. His uncle, after firing at several beasts of 
the chase, all of which he missed, fell into de- 
spondence, and persuaded himself that it was 
the will of the Great Spirit that he should 

rish. In this state of mind, he requested 
is wife to kill him. The woman refused to 
comply; but the two lads, one of them, as has 
been said, the nephew, and the other the son 
of the unhappy man, agreed between them- 
selves to murder him, to prevent, as our in- 
formant wished us to believe, his murdering 
them. Accomplishing their detestable pur- 
pose, they devoured the body; and famine 
pressing upon them still closer, they succes- 
sively killed the three younger children, upon 
whose flesh they subsisted for some time, and 
with a part of which the parricides at length 
set out for the lake, leaving the woman, who 
was too feeble to travel, to her fate. On their 
way, their foul victuals failed; the youth 
before us killed his companion; and it was a 
part of the remains of this last victim that had 
been discovered at the fire. 

The Indians entertain an opinion that the 
man who has once made human flesh his food 
will never afterward be satisfied with any 
other. It is probable that we saw things in 


Cratoelg anfc 

some measure through the medium of our prej- 
udices; but I confess that this distressing ob- 
ject appeared to verify the doctrine. He ate 
with relish nothing that was given him; but, 
indifferent to the food prepared, fixed his eyes 
continually on the children which were in the 
Indian lodge, and frequently exclaimed, "How 
fat they are!" It was perhaps not unnatural 
that after long acquaintance with no human 
form but such as was gaunt and pale from want 
of food, a man's eyes should be almost riveted 
upon anything where misery had not made 
such inroads, and still more upon the bloom 
and plumpness of childhood; and the exclama- 
tion might be the most innocent, and might 
proceed from an involuntary and unconquerable 
sentiment of admiration. Be this as it may, his 
behavior was considered, and not less naturally, 
as marked with the most alarming symptoms; 
and the Indians, apprehensive that he would 
prey upon their children, resolved on putting 
him to death. They did this the next day with 
the single stroke of an axe, aimed at his head 
from behind, and of the approach of which he 
had not the smallest intimation. 

Soon after this affair our supply of fish, even 
here, began to fail; and we resolved, in conse- 
quence, to return to the Sault, in the hope that 
some supply might have arrived there. Want, 
however, still prevailed at that place, and no 
stranger had visited it; we set off, therefore, 
to Michilimackinac, taking with us only one 

meal 's provision for each person. Happily, at 
our first encampment an hour's fishing pro- 
cured us seven trout, each from ten pounds 
weight to twenty. At the River Miscoutinsaki 
we found two lodges of Indians who had fish, 
and who generously gave us part. The next 
day we continued our journey till, meeting 
with a caribou, I was so fortunate as to kill it. 
We encamped close to the carcass, which 
weighed about four hundred pounds, and sub- 
sisted ourselves upon it for two days. On the 
seventh day of our march we reached Fort 
Michilimackinac, where our difficulties ended. 
On the first of July there arrived a hundred 
canoes from the Northwest, laden with beaver. 



THE same year I chose my wintering 
ground at Michipicoten on the north 
side of Lake Superior, distant fifty 
leagues from the Sault de Ste. Marie. On my 
voyage, after passing the great capes which are 
at the mouth of the lake, I observed the banks 
to be low and stony and in some places run- 
ning a league back to the feet of a ridge of 

At Point Mamance the beach appeared to 
abound in mineral substances and I met with a 
vein of lead ore, where the metal abounded in 
the form of cubical crystals. Still coasting 
along the lake, I found several veins of copper 
ore of that kind which the miners call gray ore. 
From Mamance to Nanibojou is fifteen 
leagues. Nanibojou is on the eastern side of 
the Bay of Michipicoten. At the opposite 
point, or cape, are several small islands, under 
one of which, according to Indian tradition, 
is buried Nanibojou, a person of the most 
sacred memory. Nanibojou is otherwise called 
by the names of Minabojou, Michabou, Mes- 
sou, Shactac, and a variety of others, but of 
all of which the interpretation appears to be 
the Great Hare. The traditions related of the 

Great Hare are as varied as his name. 12 He 
was represented to me as the founder, and in- 
deed the creator, of the Indian nations of 
North America. He lived originally toward 
the going-down of the sun where, being warned 
in a dream that the inhabitants would be 
drowned by a general flood produced by heavy 
rains, he built a raft, on which he afterwards 
preserved his own family and all the animal 
world without exception. According to his 
dream, the rains fell and a flood ensued. His 
raft drifted for many moons during which 
no land was discovered. His family began to 
despair of a termination to the calamity, and 
the animals, who had then the use of speech, 
murmured loudly against him. In the end he 
produced a new earth, placed the animals upon 
it, and created man. 

At a subsequent period he took from the 
animals the use of speech. This act of severity 
was performed in consequence of a conspiracy 
into which they had entered against the human 
race. At the head of the conspiracy was the 
bear; and the great increase which had taken 
place among the animals rendered their num- 
bers formidable. I have heard many other 

12 The legends of Nanibojou, dealing with the myth 
of the creation, are preserved among many and widely 
scattered tribes. In 1804 Captain Thomas G. Anderson 
found at the site of modern Two Rivers, Wisconsin, 
an Indian chief named Nannabojou. His account of 
the origin and significance of his name is recorded in 
Wis. Hist. Colls., IX, 155-57. Editor. 



stories concerning Nanibojou, and many have 
been already given to the public; and this at 
least is certain, that sacrifices are offered on 
the island which is called his grave or tumulus, 
by all who pass it. I landed there and found 
on the projecting rocks a quantity of tobacco 
rotting in the rain, together with kettles, 
broken guns, and a variety of other articles. 
His spirit is supposed to make this its constant 
residence; and here to preside over the lake, 
and over the Indians, in their navigation and 

This island lies no farther from the main 
than the distance of five hundred yards. On 
the opposite beach I found several pieces of 
virgin copper, of which many were remarkable 
for their form, some resembling leaves of 
vegetables and others, animals. Their weight 
was from an ounce to three pounds. 

From the island to my proposed wintering 
ground the voyage was about ten leagues. The 
lake is here bordered by a rugged and elevated 
country, consisting in mountains of which for 
the most part the feet are in the water and the 
heads in the clouds. The river which falls into 
the bay is a large one but has a bar at its en- 
trance over which there is no more than four 
feet water. 

On reaching the trading post, which was an 
old one of French establishment, I found ten 
lodges of Indians. These were Gens de 
Terres, or O'pimittish Ininiwac, of which 



nation I have already had occasion to speak. 13 
It is scattered over all the country between the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence and Lake Arabuthcow, 14 
and between Lake Superior and Hudson's 
Bay. Its language is a mixture of those of its 
neighbors, the Chippewa and Christinaux. 15 
The men and women wear their hair in the same 
fashion, and are otherwise so much dressed 
alike that it is often difficult to v distinguish 
their sexes. Their lodges, on the insufficiency of 
which I have before remarked, have no cover- 
ing except the branches of the spruce fir and 
these habitations, as well as the clothes and 
persons of the inhabitants, are full of dirt 
and vermin. Such is the inhospitality of the 
country over which they wander that only a 
single family can live together in the winter 
season, and this sometimes seeks subsistence 
in vain on an area of five hundred square miles. 
They can stay in one place only till they have 
destroyed all its hares, and when these fail 
they have no resource but in the leaves and 
shoots of trees, or in defect of these in canni- 
balism. Most of these particulars, however, 

13 See Part One, chapter 6. They are also called TStes 
de Boule. Author. 

The descendants of the Ttes de Boule (round- 
heads) now dwell in the province of Quebec. Alone of 
all the tribes of eastern Canada, they still refuse to 
devote themselves to agriculture. Editor. 

14 Modern Lake Athabasca. Editor. 

15 The same with Kristinaux, Killistinoes, Criqs, 
Cris, Crees, etc., etc., etc. Author. 


Crafeeig anfc atitoenturc 

are to be regarded as strong traits by which the 
sorrows and calamities of the country admit 
of being characterized, rather than as parts of 
an accurate delineation of its more ordinary 

Among such of these Indians as I knew, one 
of them was married to his own daughter, who 
had brought him several children; and I was 
told by his companions that it was common 
among them for a man to have at the same 
time both a mother and her daughter for 

To the ten lodges I advanced goods to a large 
amount, allowing every man credit for a hun- 
dred beaver-skins, and every woman for thirty. 
In this I went beyond what I had done for the 
Chippewa, a proceeding to which I was em- 
boldened by the high character for honesty 
which is supported by this otherwise abject 
people. Within a few days after their depar- 
ture, others arrived; and by the fifteenth of 
October I had seen, or so I was informed, all 
the Indians of this quarter, and which belong 
to a thousand square miles. They were com- 
prised in no more than eighteen families; and 
even these, in summer, could not find food in 
the country were it not for the fish in the 
streams and lakes. 

The country immediately contiguous to my 

wintering ground was mountainous in every 

direction, and the mountains were separated 

from each other rather by lakes than valleys, 


the quantity of water everywhere exceeding 
that of the land. On the summits of some of 
the mountains there were sugar-maple trees; 
but with these exceptions, the uplands had 
no other growth than spruce-firs and pines, 
nor the lowlands than birch and poplar. 
Occasionally, I saw a few cariboux, and hares 
and partridges supplied my Sunday dinners. 
By Christmas day the lake was covered with 


Chapter 5 


IN the beginning of April I prepared to make 
maple sugar, building for this purpose a 
house in a hollow dug out of the snow. The 
house was seven feet high but yet was lower 
than the snow. 

On the twenty-fourth I began my manu- 
facture. On the twenty-eighth the lands below 
were covered with a thick fog. All was calm, 
and from the top of the mountain not a cloud 
was to be discovered in the horizon. Descend- 
ing the next day, I found half a foot of new- 
fallen snow and learned that it had blown hard 
in the valleys the day before; so that I per- 
ceived I had been making sugar in a region 
above the clouds. 

Sugar-making continued till the twelfth of 
May. On the mountain we eat nothing but our 
sugar during the whole period. Each man 
consumed a pound a day, desired no other food, 
and was visibly nourished by it. 

After returning to the banks of the river, 
wild fowl appeared in such abundance that a 
day's subsistence for fifty men could without 
difficulty be shot daily by one; but all this was 
the affair of less than a week, before the end of 
which the water which had been covered was 

left naked, and the birds had fled away to the 

On the twentieth day of the month the first 
party of Indians came in from their winter's 
hunt. During the season some of them had 
visited one of the factories of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. Within a few days following 
I had the satisfaction of seeing all those to 
whom I had advanced goods return. Out of 
two thousand skins, which was the amount of 
my outstanding debts, not thirty remained un- 
paid; and even the trivial loss which I did 
suffer was occasioned by the death of one of the 
Indians, for whom his family brought, as they 
said, all the skins of which he died possessed, 
and offered to pay the rest from among them- 
selves; his manes, they observed, would not 
be able to enjoy peace, while his name re- 
mained in my books and his debts were left 

In the spring, at Michilimackinac, I met 
with a Mr. Alexander Baxter, recently arrived 
from England on report of the ores existing in 
this country. To this gentleman, I commu- 
nicated my mineralogical observations and 
specimens, collected both on my voyages and 
at my wintering ground; and I was thus intro- 
duced into a partnership which was soon after- 
ward formed for working the mines of Lake 

Meanwhile, I prepared to pass a second 
winter at Michipicoten, which I reached at the 


Ctataelg anfr %frtacntureg 

usual season. In the month of October, all the 
Indians being supplied and at the chase, I 
resolved on indulging myself in a voyage to the 
Sault de Ste. Marie, and took with me three 
Canadians and a young Indian woman, who 
wished to see her relations there. As the dis- 
tance was short and we were to fish by the way, 
we took no other provision than a quart of 
maize for each person. 

On the first night we encamped on the island 
of Nanibojou and set our net. We certainly 
neglected the customary offerings, and an 
Indian would not fail to attribute it to this 
cause that in the night there arose a violent 
storm which continued for three days, in which 
it was impossible for us to visit our net. In 
consequence we subsisted ourselves on our 
maize, the whole of which we nearly finished. 
On the evening of the third day the storm 
abated and we hastened to examine the net. 
It was gone. To return to Michipicoten was 
impossible, the wind being ahead; and we 
steered, therefore, for the Sault. But in the 
evening the wind came round and blew a gale 
all that night and for the nine following days. 
During all this time the waves were so high and 
broke so violently on the beach that a canoe 
could not be put into the water. 

When we first disembarked we had not 
enough maize to afford a single day's provision 
for our party, consisting as it did of five per- 
sons. What there was we consumed on the 


first evening, reckoning upon a prosperous 
voyage the next morning. On the first and 
second days I went out to hunt, but after 
ranging for many miles among the mountains 
I returned in both instances without success. 
On the third day I found myself too weak to 
walk many yards without stopping to rest my- 
self; and I returned in the evening with no more 
than two snowbirds. 16 

On my arrival one of my men informed me 
that the other two had proposed to kill and 
feed upon the young woman; and on my 
examining them as to the truth of this accusa- 
tion they freely avowed it, and seemed to be 
much dissatisfied at my opposition to their 

The next morning I ascended a lofty moun- 
tain, on the top of which I found a very high 
rock and this covered with a lichen which the 
Chippewas call waac, and the Canadians 
tripe de roche. 11 I had previously been informed 
that on occasions of famine this vegetable has 

16 Emberiza hyemalis. Author. 

17 This is an edible lichen often mentioned by early 
explorers. Father Menard and his companions, winter- 
ing at Keweenaw Bay in 1660-61, used it to preserve 
their lives through the winter. "They would put a 
handful of it into their kettle, which would thicken 
the water ever so little, forming a kind of foam or slime 
like that of snails, and feeding their imagination more 
than their bodies." Father Andre records that "It 
is necessary to close one's eyes when one begins to eat 
it." Wis. Hist. Colls., XVI, 24. Editor. 



often been resorted to for food. No sooner, 
therefore, had I discovered it than I began to 
descend the mountain to fetch the men and the 
Indian woman. The woman was well acquainted 
with the mode of preparing the lichen for 
the stomach, which is done by boiling it down 
into a mucilage, as thick as the white of an egg. 
In a short time we obtained a hearty meal, for 
though our food was of a bitter and disagreeable 
taste, we felt too much joy in finding it and too 
much relief in eating it not to partake of it 
with much appetite and pleasure. As to the 
rest, it saved the life of the poor woman; for 
the men who had projected to kill her would 
unquestionably have accomplished their pur- 
pose. One of them gave me to understand that 
he was not absolutely a novice in such an 
affair; that he had wintered in the Northwest, 
and had been obliged to eat human flesh. 

On the evening of the ninth day the wind 
fell and our canoe was launched, though not 
without difficulty from the weakly state of the 
crew. We paddled all night, but continually 
fell asleep, and whenever my own eyes were 
closed I dreamed of tempting food. 

The next morning we discovered two canoes 
of Indians on their way from the Sault. On 
informing them of our condition they supplied 
us with as many fish as we were willing to 
accept; and no sooner were we possessed of this 
treasure than we put ashore, made a fire, and 
refreshed ourselves with a plentiful breakfast. 


At night we reached the Sault. Our change 
of diet had very serious effects upon our health, 
so that for myself I had nearly fallen a victim; 
but after a few days we recovered, and re- 
turned safely to Michipicoten. 




IN the spring of 1769 as soon as the lake was 
cleared of ice I embarked with two Indians 
to visit the Island of Michipicoten, or 
lie de Maurepas, distant ten leagues. As we 
approached it, it appeared large and moun- 
tainous. The Indians had informed me that it 
contained shining rocks and stones of rare 
description. I found it one solid rock, thinly 
covered with soil except in the valleys, but 
generally well wooded. Its circumference is 
twelve leagues. On examining the surface I 
saw nothing remarkable, except large veins of 
transparent spar, and a mass of rock at the 
south end of the island which appeared to be 
composed of iron ore. 

Disappointed in my expectations here, my 
curiosity was raised anew by the account given 
me by my companions of another island almost 
as large as that on which I was, and lying a 
little farther to the southward. This they 
described as covered with a heavy yellow sand 
which I was credulous enough to fancy must be 
gold. All they knew, however, of the island 
and its heavy yellow sand was from the report 
of some of their ancestors, concerning whom a 
tradition had come down to them that being 


blown upon the former by a storm, they had 
escaped with difficulty from the enormous 
snakes by which it is inhabited, and which are 
the guardians of the yellow sand. 18 I was eager 
to visit so remarkable a spot, and being told 
that in clear weather it was visible from the 
southward of the He de Maurepas, I waited 
there two days; but the weather continuing 
hazy, I returned unsatisfied to my post. 

18 Captain Carver, who visited Lake Superior about 
the year 1766, learned something of the fables of the 
yellow sand, though he places the treasure upon the He 
de Maurepas, and falls into other errors. His observa- 
tions are as follows: "There are many islands in this 
lake, two of which are very large; and if the land of 
them is proper for cultivation, there appears to be 
sufficient to form on each a considerable province; 
especially on He Royale, which cannot be less than a 
hundred miles long and in many places forty broad. 
But there is no way at present of ascertaining the 
exact length or breadth of either. Even tfye French, 
who. always kept a small schooner on this lake whilst 
they were in possession of Canada, by which they 
could have made this discovery, have only acquired a 
slight knowledge of the external parts of these islands: 
at least, they have never published any account of the 
internal parts of them that I could get intelligence of. 

"Nor was I able to discover, from any of the con- 
versations which I had with the neighboring Indians, 
that they had ever made any settlements on them, or 
even landed there on their hunting excursions. From 
what I could gather by their discourse, they suppose 
them to have been, from the first formation, the 
residence of the Great Spirit; and relate many magical 
tricks that had been experienced by such as were 
obliged through stress of weather to take shelter on 



This year I attempted to cultivate culinary 
vegetables at Michipicoten but without suc- 
cess. It was not at this time believed that the 
potato could thrive at Michilimackinac. At 
Michipicoten the small quantity of this root 
which I raised was destroyed by the frost, in 
the ensuing winter. 

In 1770 Mr. Baxter, who had sailed for 
England, returned bringing with him papers by 
which, with Mr . Bostwick and himself I was 
constituted a joint agent and partner in and for 
a company of adventurers for working the mines 
of Lake Superior. We passed the winter to- 
gether at the Sault de Ste. Marie and built a 
barge fit for the navigation of the lake, at the 

"One of the Chipeways told me that some of their 
people were once driven on the Island de Maurepas, 
which lies to the northeast part of the lake, and found 
on it large quantities of heavy, shining yellow sand, 
that from their description must have been gold dust. 
Being struck with the beautiful appearance of it, in the 
morning when they re-entered their canoe they attempt- 
ed to bring some away; but a spirit of amazing size, 
according to their. account sixty feet in height, strode 
into the water after them, and commanded them to de- 
liver back what they had taken away. Terrified at his 
gigantic stature, and seeing that he had nearly over- 
taken them, they were glad to restore their shining 
treasure; on which they were suffered to depart without 
further molestation. Since this incident, no Indian 
that has ever heard of it will venture near the same 
haunted coast. Besides this, they recounted to me 
many other stories of these islands, equally fabulous. " 
Three Years' Travels through the Interior Parts of 
North America, etc. By Captain Jonathan Carver, of 
the Provincial Troops, etc. Author. 


same time laying the keel of a sloop of forty 
tons. Early in May, 1771, the lake becoming 
navigable, we departed from Point aux Pins, 
our shipyard, at which there is a safe harbor 
and of which the distance from the Sault is 
three leagues. We sailed for the Island of 
Yellow Sands, promising ourselves to make 
our fortunes in defiance of its serpents. 


Chapter 7 


A~TER a search of two days we discovered 
the island with our glass; and on the 
third morning, the weather being fair, 
steered for it at an early hour. At two o'clock 
in the afternoon we disembarked upon the 

I was the first to land, carrying with me my 
loaded gun and resolved to meet with courage 
the guardians of the gold. But as we had not 
happened to run our barge upon the yellow 
sands in the first instance, so no immediate 
attack was to be feared. A wood was before us 
at some little distance from the water's edge; 
and I presently discovered the tracks of 

Soon after I entered the woods three of these 
animals discovered themselves and, turning 
round, gazed at me with much apparent sur- 
prise. I fired at one of them and killed it; and 
at a mile farther I killed a second. Their size 
was equal to that of a three-year-old heifer. 
The day following I killed three. 

The island is much smaller than I had been 
led to suppose it, its circumference not exceed- 
ing twelve miles. It is very low and contains 
many small lakes. These latter I conjecture to 


have been produced by the damming up of the 
streams by beaver, though those animals must 
have left the island or perished after destroying 
the wood. The only high land is toward the 

. A stay of three days did not enable us to find 
gold nor even the yellow sands. At the same 
time no serpents appeared to terrify us; not 
even the smallest and most harmless snake. 
But to support the romance, it might be in- 
ferred that the same agency which hid the one 
had changed the other; and why should not the 
magic of the place display itself in a thousand 
varied exhibitions ? Why should not the ser- 
pents have been transformed into hawks? 
And why should not the demons delight in 
belying every succeeding visitor by never 
showing the same objects twice ? Sure I am, 
that the hawks abounded when we were there. 
They hovered around us, and appeared even 
angry at our intrusion, pecking at us and 
keeping us in continual alarm for our faces. 
One of them actually took my cap from off 
my head. 

On one of the lakes we saw geese; and there 
were a few pigeons. The only four-footed 
animal was the caribou and this, it is probable, 
was first conveyed to the island on some mass 
of drifting ice. It was, however, no new in- 
habitant; for in numerous instances I found 
the bones of cariboux, apparently in entire 
skeletons, with only the tops of their horns 


projecting from the surface, while moss or 
vegetable earth concealed the rest. Skeletons 
were so frequent as to suggest a belief that 
want of food in this confined situation had 
been the destruction of many; nor is anything 
more probable; and yet the absence of beasts of 
prey might be the real cause. In forests more 
ordinarily circumstanced the graminivorous 
animals must usually fall a prey to the car- 
nivorous long before the arrival of old age; 
but in an asylum such as this, they may await 
the decay of nature. 

The alarm of these animals during our stay 
was manifested in the strongest manner. At 
our first arrival they discovered mere surprise, 
running off to a distance and then return- 
ing as if out of curiosity to examine the 
strangers. Soon, however, they discovered 
us to be dangerous visitors, and then took 
to running from one place to another in con- 
fusion. In the three days of our stay we killed 

The island is distant sixty miles from the 
north shore of Lake Superior. There is no land 
visible to the south of it except a small island 
on which we landed. 19 

On the fourth day, after drying our cariboux- 
meat, we sailed for Nanibojou which we 

19 The reader is not to look into any gazetteer for the 
Island of Yellow Sands. It is perhaps that which the 
French denominated the He de Pontchartrain. Author. 

The island, now called Caribou, may be found on 
modern maps about twenty-five miles due south of 

reached in eighteen hours, with a fair breeze. 
On the next day the miners examined the coast 
of Nanibojou and found several veins of copper 
and lead; and after this returned to Point aux 
Pins, where we erected an air-furnace. The 
assayer made a report on the ores which we had 
collected, stating that the lead-ore contained 
silver in the proportion of forty ounces to a 
ton; but the copper-ore only in very small pro- 
portion indeed. 

From Point aux Pins we crossed to the south 
side of the lake and encamped on Point aux 

Mr. Norburg, 20 a Russian gentleman ac- 
quainted with metals and holding a commis- 
sion in the Sixtieth Regiment, and then in 
garrison at Michilimackinac, accompanied us 
on this latter expedition. As we rambled, 
examining the shods or loose stones in search of 
minerals, Mr. Norburg chanced to meet with 
one of eight pounds weight, of a blue color 
and semi-transparent. This he carried to 
England, where it produced in the proportion 
of sixty pounds of silver to a hundred weight of 
ore. It was reposited in the British Museum. 
Michipicoten Island. Editor. 

20 John Nordberg became lieutenant in the Sixtieth 
Regiment in 1758 and captain in 1773. At the opening 
of the Revolution he was commandant at Fort George 
on Lake George, and surrendered this post to the Colo- 
nists in April. 1775. After several months imprisonment 
he was permitted, on account of ill-health, to return 
to England. Editor. 

Crafcclg anD &Dtoenture 

The same Mr. Norburg was shortly afterward 
appointed to the government of Lake George 
in the province of New York. 

Hence we coasted westward, but found 
nothing till we reached the Ontonogan, where, 
besides the detached masses of copper formerly 
mentioned, we saw much of the same metal 
bedded in stone. Proposing to ourselves to 
make a trial on the hill till we were better able 
to work upon the solid rock, we built a house 
and sent to the Sault de Ste. Marie for provi- 
sions. At the spot pitched upon for the com- 
mencement of our preparations a green-colored 
water, which tinged iron of a copper color, 
issued from the hill; and this the miners 
called a leader. In digging they found frequent 
masses of copper, some of which were of three 
pounds weight. Having arranged everything 
for the accommodation of the miners during the 
winter, we returned to the Sault. 

Early in the spring of 1772 we sent a boat- 
load of provisions, but it came back on the 
twentieth day of June, bringing with it, to 
our surprise, the whole establishment of 
miners. They reported that in the course of 
the winter they had penetrated forty feet into 
the hill; but that on the arrival of the thaw, the 
clay, on which on account of its stiffness they 
had relied and neglected to secure it by sup- 
porters, had fallen in; that to recommence their 
search would be attended with much labor and 
cost; that from the detached masses of metal, 

which to the last had daily presented them- 
selves, they supposed there might be ultimately 
reached some body of the same, but could form 
no conjecture of its distance, except that it was 
probably so far off as not to be pursued with- 
out sinking an airshaft: and lastly, that this 
work would require the hands of more men 
than could be fed in the actual situation of the 

Here our operations in this quarter ended. 
The metal was probably within our reach; 
but if we had found it the expense of carrying 
it to Montreal must have exceeded its market- 
able value. It was never for the exportation 
of copper that our company was formed; but 
always with a view to the silver which it was 
hoped the ores, whether of copper or lead, 
might in sufficient quantity contain. The 
copper ores of Lake Superior can never be 
profitably sought for but for local consump- 
tion. The country must be cultivated and 
peopled before they can deserve notice. 21 

21 The copper mines of Lake Superior have been more 
than once represented to the world in colors capable of 
deceiving fresh adventurers; and the statement in the 
text will not have been uselessly made, if it should at 
any time serve as a beacon to the unwary. The author 
of Voyages from Montreal, &*c. has recently observed, 
that the "Americans, soon after they got possession of 
the country, sent an engineer"; and that he "should 
not be surprised to hear of their employing people to 
work the mine. Indeed," he adds, "it might be well 
worthy the attention of the British subjects to work the 
mines on the north coast though they are not supposed 



The neighboring lands are good. I distributed 
seed-maize among the Indians here, which they 
planted accordingly. They did the same the 
following year, and in both instances had good 
crops. Whether or not they continued the 
practice I cannot say. There might be much 
danger of their losing their seed; for their way 
was to eat the maize green and save only a 
small quantity for sowing. 

In the following month of August we 
launched our sloop and carried the miners to the 
vein of copper ore on the north side of the lake. 
Little was done during the winter, but by 

to be so rich as those on the south"; and Captain 
Carver has given the following account of the identical 
undertaking above described: "A company of ad- 
venturers from England began, soon after the conquest 
of Canada, to bring away some of this metal; but the 
distracted situation of affairs in America has obliged them 
to relinquish their scheme. It might in future times be 
made a very advantageous trade; as the metal, "which 
costs nothing on the spot and requires but little expense 
to get it on board, could be conveyed in boats or canoes 
through the Falls of Sainte Marie to the Isle of Saint 
Joseph, which lies at the bottom of the strait, near the 
entrance into Lake Huron; from thence it might be put 
on board larger vessels, and in them transported across 
that lake to the Falls of Niagara; then being carried by 
land across the portage, it might be conveyed without 
much more obstruction to Quebec. The cheapness and 
ease with which any quantity of it may be procured will 
make up for the length of way that is necessary to 
transport it before it reaches the sea coast; and enable 
the proprietors to send it to foreign markets on as good 
terms as it can be exported from other countries." 
Three Years' Travels, Etc. Author. 


dint of labor performed between the com- 
mencement of the spring of 1773 and the en- 
suing month of September they penetrated 
thirty feet into the solid rock. The rock was 
blasted with great difficulty; and the vein, 
which at the beginning was of the breadth of 
four feet, had in the progress contracted into 
four inches. Under these circumstances we 
desisted, and carried the miners back to the 
Sault. What copper ore we had collected we 
sent to England; but the next season we were 
informed that the partners there declined 
entering into further expenses. In the interim 
we had carried the miners along the north 
shore as far as the river Pic, making, however, 
no discovery of importance. This year, there- 
fore, 1774, Mr. Baxter disposed of the sloop 
and other effects of the Company, and paid 
its debts. 

The partners in England were his Royal 
Highness the Duke of Gloucester, Mr. Sec- 
retary Townshend, Sir Samuel Tutchet, 
Baronet; Mr. Baxter, Consul of the Empress 
of Russia; and Mr. Cruickshank: in America, 
Sir William Johnson, Baronet; Mr. Bostwick, 
Mr. Baxter and myself. 

A charter had been petitioned for and ob- 
tained, but owing to our ill success it was never 
taken from the seal-office. 




PENDING this enterprise I had still pur- 
sued the Indian trade, and on its failure I 
applied myself to that employment with 
more assiduity than ever, and resolved on 
visiting the countries to the northwest of Lake 

On the tenth day of June, 1775, I left the 
Sault with goods and provisions to the value 
of three thousand pounds sterling on board 
twelve small canoes and four larger ones. The 
provisions made the chief bulk of the cargo ; no 
further supply being obtainable till we should 
have advanced far into the country. Each 
small canoe was navigated by three men and 
each larger one by four. 

On the twentieth we passed the Tete de la 
Loutre, or Otter's Head, so named from a 
rock of about thirty feet in height and fifteen 
in circumference, and which stands vertically 
as if raised by the hand of man. What increases 
the appearance of art is a hollow in the ad- 
jacent mass of rock, which its removal might 
be thought to have left. In the evening we 
encamped at the mouth of the Pijitic, a river as 
large as that of Michipicoten, and which in 
like manner takes its rise in the high lands 


lying between Lake Superior and Hudson Bay. 
From Michipicoten to the Pijitic the coast of 
the lake is mountainous; the mountains are 
covered with pine and the valleys with spruce- 

It was by the river Pijitic 22 that the French 
ascended in 1750, when they plundered one 
of the factories in Hudson Bay and carried off 
the two small pieces of brass cannon which fell 
again into the hands of the English at Michili- 
mackinac. 23 On the river are a band of Wood 
Indians, who are sometimes troublesome to 
the traders passing. 

On the twenty-first I left the Pijitic and 
crossing a bay three leagues in breadth landed 
on Pic Island. From Pic Island I coasted ten 
leagues, and then encamped on an island 
opposite the Pays Plat, or Flat Country, a 
name borrowed from the Indians, and occa- 
sioned by the shoal-water, which here extends 
far into the lake, and by the flat and low lands 

22 According to Carver it was by the Michipicoten. 
If he is correct, it must have been from Moose Fort, in 
James Bay, and not from Fort Churchill, that they took 
the cannon. Author. 

The raid by the French upon the Hudson's Bay 
Company posts here alluded to actually took place in 
1686, and the affair had long since become legendary 
among the voyageurs of the Northwest. Henry is also 
in error as to the route taken by the raiding party, which 
was by the Ottawa, Lake Abitibi, Abitibi and Moose 
rivers. Editor. 

23 The Pijatic is now known as White River. Editor. 


Cratoelg anfc &tJfoentureg 

which lie between the water and the mountain. 

The Pays Plat is intersected by several large 
rivers, and particularly the Nipigon, so called 
after Lake Nipigon, of which it is the dis- 
charge. By this river the French carried on a 
considerable trade with the Northern Indians. 
They had a fort or trading-ho* its mouth, 
and annually drew from it a hundred packs of 
beaver of a quality more in esteem than that 
from the Northwest. They had another trad- 
ing-house at Caministiquia. 24 'As we proceed 
northwest along the lake the mountains re- 
cede widely from the beach. 

On the twenty-fourth I left the northern 
shore and in four days reached the Grand 
Portage. 25 The intervening islands consist 

24 At the mouth of the Kaministiquia River, where 
Fort William now stands. The latter fort was erected 
by the North West Company in 1804. Here yearly 
meetings of the factors of the Company were held, the 
proceedings at which have been charmingly narrated 
by Washington Irving in Astoria. Editor. 

25 Grand Portage was at the beginning of the Pigeon- 
Rainy River route from Lake Superior to Lake Winni- 
peg, a few miles south of the mouth of Pigeon River. 
The place was well known during the French period, and 
at the beginning of the British regime it became an 
important center of fur-trade activities. Jonathan Car- 
ver found many traders here in 1767. From about this 
time until the establishment of Fort William in 1804 
Grand Portage was the center of the fur trade of the far 
Northwest. Its decay was owing to the discovery that 
it lay south of the boundary between Canada and the 
United States; since British traders were not permitted 
to operate in the latter country, upon this discovery they 


almost entirely of rock. The largest, called 
He au Tonnerre, or Thunder Island, is said 
by the Indians to be peculiarly subject to 
thunder storms. At the Grand Portage I 
found the traders in a state of extreme recip- 
rocal hostility, each pursuing his interests in 
ruch a manner as'might most injure his neigh- 
bor. The consequences were very hurtful to 
the morals of the Indians. 

The transportation of the goods at this 
grand portage, or great carrying-place, was a 
work of seven days of severe and dangerous 
exertion, at the end of which we encamped on 
the River aux Groseilles. 26 The Grand Portage 
consists in two ridges of land, between which is 
a deep glen or valley with good meadow lands, 
and a broad stream of water. The lowlands 
are covered chiefly with birch and poplar, and 
the high with pine. I was now in what is 
technically called the Northwest; that is, the 
country northwest of Lake Superior. The 
canoes here employed are smaller than those 

were forced to seek headquarters and a trade route to the 
West farther north. As a consequence the route by the 
Kaministiquia River was opened, and Fort William 
built at its outlet. Editor. 

26 The same with what a recent traveler describes as 
the "river du Tourt" (Tourtre) Dove or Pigeon 
River. Author. 

Modern Pigeon River was first named Groseilliers, 
in honor of the first French explorer in this region. The 
form of the name given in Henry's text is, of course, a 
corruption of this name. Editor. 


which are used between Montreal and Michili- 
mackinac and in Lake Superior, being only 
four fathoms and a half in length. It is the 
duty of the head and stern men to carry the 
canoe. I engaged two of these to winter with 
me, at the wages of four hundred dollars each 
and an equipment of the value, at the Grand 
Portage, of one hundred more. 

On the eighth we ascended the Groseilles to 
the carrying-place called the Portage du Per- 
drix, where the river falls down a precipice 
of the height of a hundred feet. At the place 
where, after passing the Grand Portage, we 
first launched our canoes on the Groseilles the 
stream is thirty yards wide. From this spot it 
proceeds with numerous falls to Lake Superior, 
which it enters about six leagues to the north- 
ward of the Grand Portage. 

Next day at the Portage aux Outardes we 
left the Groseilles, and carrying our canoes and 
merchandise for three miles over a mountain, 
came at length to a small lake. This was the 
beginning of a chain of lakes extending for 
fifteen leagues and separated by carrying- 
places of from half a mile to three miles in 
length. At the end of this chain we reached the 
heads of small streams which flow to the north- 
westward. The region of the lakes is called the 
Hauteur de Terre, or Land's Height. It is an 
elevated tract of country, not inclining in any 
direction, and diversified on its surface with 
small hills. The wood is abundant but consists 

principally in birch, pine, spruce, fir, and a 
small quantity of maple. 

By the twelfth we arrived where the streams 
were large enough to float the canoes with their 
lading, though the men walked in the water 
pushing them along. Next day we found them 
sufficiently navigable, though interrupted by 
frequent falls and carrying-places. On the 
twentieth we reached Lake Sagunac, or Sagi- 
naga, 27 distant sixty leagues from the Grand 
Portage. This was the hithermost post in the 
northwest established by the French, and there 
was formerly a large village of the Chipewa 
here, now destroyed by the Nadowessies. I 
found only three lodges filled with poor, dirty, 
and almost naked inhabitants, of whom I 
bought fish and wild rice, 28 which latter they 
had in great abundance. When populous, this 
village used to be troublesome to the traders, 
obstructing their voyages and extorting liquor 

27 This lake lies much nearer Lake Superior than here 
indicated. Apparently modern Lake Nequaquon, on 
the boundary of St. Louis County, Minnesota, is the 
point reached by Henry. Editor. 

28 Folle avoine, avenafatua, zizania aquatica. Author. 
The wild rice plant, here mentioned, was widely 

distributed over the continent of North America, and 
was an important article of sustenance for many tribes. 
It is still widely used by the natives, and has* even 
become an article of civilized commerce, being handled 
regularly by the jobbing houses of Chicago and other 
cities. For an exhaustive study of the wild rice and its 
-use see Albert E. Jenks, "Wild Rice Gatherers of the 
Upper Lakes, " in Nineteenth Annual Report of Ameri- 



and other articles. 29 Lake Sagunac is eight 
leagues in length by four in breadth. The 
lands, which are everywhere covered with 
spruce, are hilly on the southwest but on the 
northeast more level. My men were by this 
time almost exhausted with fatigue, but the 
chief part of the labor was fortunately past. 

We now entered Lake a la Pluie, 30 which is 
fifteen leagues long by five broad. Its banks 
are covered with maple and birch. Our en- 
campment was at the mouth of the lake, where 
there is a fall of water of forty feet called the 
Chute de la Chaudiere. The carrying-place is 
two hundred yards in length. On the next 
evening we encamped at Les Fourches, on the 
River a la Pluie, 31 where there was a village of 

can Bureau of Ethnology (Washington, 1902), 1013- 
1137. Editor. 

28 In a memorial of 1784 Benjamin and Joseph 
Frobisher state that the first "adventurer" who went 
west from Mackinac in 1 765 was " stopt and plundered " 
by the Rainy Lake Indians. The second attempt was 
made in 1767, when the traders, on leaving a portion of 
their goods at Rainy Lake, were permitted to proceed 
with the remainder. In 1769 the Frobishers entered the 
country for the first time, and were themselves plun- 
dered by the " still ungovernable and rapacious " natives 
of Rainy Lake. From 1770 onward, however, the trad- 
ers were more successful; the reason for the cessation of 
the hindrance to their trade is evidently suggested here 
by Henry. Editor. 

30 Modern Rainy Lake. Editor. 

31 Modern Rainy River, on the boundary between 
Canada and the United States. Editor. 


SUcjranfcer J^enrp 

Chippewa of fifty lodges, of whom I bought 
canoes. They insisted further on having goods 
given to them on credit, as well as on receiving 
some presents. The latter they regarded as an 
established tribute, paid them on account of 
the ability which they possessed to put a stop 
to all trade with the interior. I gave them rum, 
with which they became drunk and trouble- 
some; and in the night I left them. 

The River a la Pluie is forty leagues long, of 
a gentle current, and broken only by one rapid. 
Its banks are level to a great distance, and 
composed of a fine soil, which was covered with 
luxuriant grass. They were perfect solitudes, 
not even a canoe presenting itself along my 
whole navigation of the stream. 32 I was greatly 
struck with the beauty of the stream as well as 
with its fitness for agricultural settlements, 
in which provisions might be raised for the 

On the thirtieth we reached the Lake of the 
Woods, or Lake des lies, at the entrance of 
which was an Indian village of a hundred souls, 
where we obtained a further supply of fish. 
Fish appeared to be the summer food. 

From this village we received ceremonious 
presents. The mode with the Indians is first 

32 The scarcity of animal life in this vicinity at this 
season of the year has been remarked by many explor- 
ers. Thus, Keating, in 1823, did not meet with a single 
quadruped from Rainy Lake to Lake Superior, the only 
animals seen being thirty or forty birds, chiefly ducks. 


to collect all the provisions they can spare and 
place them in a heap; after which they send for 
the trader and address him in a formal speech. 
They tell him that the Indians are happy in 
seeing him return to their country; that they 
have been long in expectation of his arrival; 
that their wives have deprived themselves of 
their provisions in order to afford him a sup- 
ply; that they are in great want, being des- 
titute of everything, and particularly of 
ammunition and clothing, and that what they 
most long for is a taste of his rum, which they 
uniformly denominate milk. 

The present in return consisted in one keg 
of gunpowder of sixty pounds weight; a bag 
of shot and another of powder of eighty pounds 
each; a few smaller articles, and a keg of rum. 
The last appeared to be the chief treasure, 
though on the former depended the greater 
part of their winter 's subsistence. 

In a short time the men began to drink, 
while the women brought me a further and 
very valuable present of twenty bags of rice. 
This I returned with goods and rum, and at 
the same time offered more for an additional 
quantity of rice. A trade was opened, the 
women bartering rice while the men were 
drinking. Before morning I had purchased a 
hundred bags of nearly a bushel measure each. 
Without a large quantity of rice the voyage 
could not have been prosecuted to its comple- 
tion. The canoes, as I have already observed, 

are not large enough to carry provisions, 
leaving merchandise wholly out of the ques- 
tion. The rice grows in shoal water, and the 
Indians gather it by shaking the ears into their 

When morning arrived ajl the village was 
inebriated; and the danger of misunderstand-* 
ing was increased by the facility with which 
the women abandoned themselves to my 
Canadians. In consequence I lost no time in 
leaving the place. 

On the first day of August we encamped on a 
sandy island in the Lake of the Woods, where 
we were visited by several canoes, of whom we 
purchased wild rice. On the fourth we reached 
the Portage du Rat. 

The Lake of the Woods is thirty-six leagues 
long. On the west side is an old French fort 
or trading-house, 33 formerly frequented by 
numerous bands of Chippewa, but these have 
since been almost entirely destroyed by the 
Nadowessies. When strong they were trouble- 
some. On account of a particular instance of 
pillage they have been called Pilleurs.^ The 

This was Fort St. Charles, built by the French in 
1732. It stood on the north bank of the inlet of the 
Northwest Angle, west of Famine (or Buckett) Island. 

4 In Warren's History of the Ojibways, Chapter XVI 
is devdted to an account of the event by which this band 
of the Chippewa won the designation of "Pillagers," 
and the affair is described as having taken place in 1781. 
Evidently the affair had become a matter of tribal 


Crabrig anfr glfrtocntutcg 

pelican is numerous on tjiis lake. One which 
we shot agreed entirely with the description of 
M. de Buffon. 

On the fifth we passed the Portage du Rat, 35 
which is formed by a rock of about twenty 
yards long. Here we met several canoes of 
Indians, who all begged for rum; but they 
were known to belong to the band of Pilleurs, 
also called the rogues, and were on that account 

From the Portage du Rat we descended the 
great river Winipegon which is there from one 
mile to two in breadth and at every league 
grows broader. The channel is deep, but ob- 
structed by many islands, of which some are 
large. For several miles the stream is confined 
between perpendicular rocks. The current is 
strong and the navigation singularly difficult. 
Within the space of fifteen leagues there are 
seven falls of from fifty feet to a hundred in 
height. At sixty leagues from our entrance of 
the Winipegon we crossed a carrying-place 
into the Pinawa, 36 below which the dangers 

traditions for Henry's narrative discloses that the name 
was in use at a somewhat earlier date. Editor. 

35 The name is said to have originated from the fact of 
muskrats crossing here in large numbers. Rat Portage 
is near the northern end of Lake of the Woods. Here 
the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway crosses 
from the town of Rat Portage to Keewatin on the oppo- 
site side of the river. Editor. 

36 The Pinawa River is a branch of the Winnipeg 
which was commonly followed by the traders as far as 
Bonnet Lake, who avoided thereby seven dangerous 



of the Winipegon are still further increased. 
The adjacent lands are mountainous and rocky, 
but some of the high hills are well covered with 
birch and maple. 

The stream of the Pinawa is shallow and its 
bed rocky and broken. The carrying-places 
are eight in number. The mosquitoes were 
here in such clouds as to prevent us from taking 
aim at the ducks, of which we might else have 
shot many. 

On the thirteenth we encamped at the Carry- 
ing-place of the Lost Child. Here is a chasm 
in the rock, nowhere more than two yards in 
breadth, but of great and immeasurable depth. 
The Indians relate that many ages past a child 
fell into this chasm, from the bottom of which 
it is still heard at times to cry. In all the wet 
lands wild rice grows plentifully. 

The Pinawa is twenty leagues long, and dis- 
charges itself into Lake du Bonnet 37 at three 
leagues to the north of the mouth of the Wini- 
pegon, which falls into the same lake, or rather 
forms it; for Lake du Bonnet is only a broad- 
ened part of the channel of the Winipegon. The 
lake is two leagues broad, and the river in its 
course below continues broader than it is 
above, with many islands and deep falls; the 

portages in this portion of the Winnipeg, and saved, in 
addition, several miles of travel. Editor. 

37 Cap Lake, in some maps written Cat Lake. Author. 

Instead of twenty leagues, the Pinawa is but eighteen 
miles long. Editor. 


rabrig anfr %frbcnturcg 

danger of the navigation, however, is lessened. 

On the sixteenth we reached Lake Wini- 
pegon, at the entrance of which is a large 
village of Christinaux, a nation which I had 
not previously seen. The name is variously 
written; as, Cristinaux, Kinistineaux, Killis- 
tinoes, and Killistinaux. Lake Winipegon is 
sometimes called the Lake of the Killistinons, 
or Cristinaux. The dress and other exterior 
appearances of the Cristinaux are very dis- 
tinguishable from those of the Chippewa and 
the Wood Indians. 

The men were almost entirely naked, and 
their bodies painted with a red ocher, procured 
in the mountains and often called vermilion. 
Every man and boy had his bow strung and in 
his hand, and his arrow ready to attack in case 
of need. Their heads were shaved or the hair 
plucked out all over except a spot on the crown 
of the diameter of a dollar. On this spot the 
hair grew long and was rolled and gathered 
into a tuft; and the tuft, which is an object of 
the greatest care, was covered with a piece of 
skin. The ears were pierced and filled with the 
bones of fish and of land animals. Such was 
the costume of the young men; but among the 
old, some let their hair grow on all parts of 
their head without any seeming regard. 

The women wear their hair of a great length 
both behind and before, dividing it on the fore- 
head and at the back of the head, and collecting 
the hair of each side into a roll which is fastened 


above the ear; and this roll, like the tuft on the 
heads of the men, is covered with a piece of 
skin. The skin is painted or else ornamented 
with beads of various colors. The rolls with 
their coverings resembled a pair of large horns. 
The ears of the women are pierced and de-* 
corated like those of the men. 

Their clothing is of leather, or dressed skins 
of the wild ox and the elk. The dress, falling 
from the shoulders to below the knee, is of one 
entire piece. Girls of an early age wear their 
dresses shorter than those more advanced. 
The same garment covers the shoulders and 
the bosom, and is fastened by a strap which 
passes over the shoulders; it is confined about 
the waist by a girdle. The stockings are of 
leather, made in the fashion of leggings. The 
arms to the shoulders are left naked, or are 
provided with sleeves, which are sometimes 
put on and sometimes suffered to hang vacant 
from the shoulders. The wrists are adorned 
with bracelets of copper or brass, manufac- 
tured from old kettles. In general, one person 
is worth but one dress; and this is worn as long 
as it will last or till a new one is made, and then 
thrown away. 

The women, like the men, paint their faces 
with red ocher, and in addition usually tattoo 
two lines reaching from the lip to the chin or 
from the corners of the mouth to the ears. 
They omit nothing to make themselves 



Meanwhile, a favorite employment is that of 
waging war with certain animals, which are in 
abundance on their persons and which, as they 
catch, they eat. To frequent inquiries as to 
the motive for eating them I was always 
answered that they afforded a medicinal food 
and great preventive of diseases. 

Such are the exterior beauties of the female 
Cristinaux; and not content with the power 
belonging to these attractions they conde- 
scend to beguile with gentle looks the hearts of 
passing strangers. The men, too, unlike the 
Chippewa (who are of a jealous temper) 
eagerly encourage them in this design. One 
of the chiefs assured me that the children 
borne by their women to Europeans were 
bolder warriors and better hunters than them- 

The Cristinaux have usually two wives each, 
and often three; and make no difficulty in 
lending one of them, for a length of time to a 
friend. Some of my men entered into agree- 
ments with the respective husbands in virtue 
of which they embarked the women in their 
canoes, promising to return them the next 
year. The women so selected consider them- 
selves as honored, and the husband who should 
refuse to lend his wife would fall under the 
condemnation of the sex in general. 

The language of the Cristinaux is a dialect 
of the Algonquin, and therefore bears some 
affinity to that of the Chippewa, which is 

another dialect of the same. In the Northwest 
it is commonly called Cree or Cris. 


Chapter 9 


THE Cristinaux made me the usual pres- 
ents of wild rice and dried meat, and 
accompanied them with the usual for- 
malities. I remained at their village two days 
repairing my canoes; and though they were 
drunk the whole time they behaved very peace- 
ably and gave me no annoyance. I observed 
that two men constantly attended us, and that 
these individuals could not be prevailed upon 
to taste liquor. They had been assigned us for 
a guard, and they would not allow any drunken 
Indian to approach our camp. 

On the eighteenth of August I left these 
amicable people, among whom an intercourse 
with Europeans appeared to have occasioned 
less deviation from their primitive manners 
than in any instance which I had previously 
discovered. I kept the north side of the lake, 
and had not proceeded far before I was joined 
by Mr. Pond, a trader of some celebrity in the 
Northwest. 38 Next day we encountered a 
38 Peter Pond was a native of Milford, Connecticut, 
born in 1740. He enlisted for the Seven Years' War, 
and at its conclusion, turned his attention to the sea. 
Before long, however, he engaged in the Indian trade at 
Detroit and other points, and in 1773 came out to 
Wisconsin and Minnesota on a new venture. In 1 775 he 


severe gale, from the dangers of which we 
escaped by making the island called the Buf- 
falo's Head; but not without the loss of a 
canoe and four men. The shores from the 
entrance of this lake to the island with excep- 
tion of the points are rocky and lofty; the 
points are rocky, but low. The wood is pine 
and fir. We took pouts, cat-fish, or catheads, of 
six pounds weight. 

On the twenty-first we crossed to the south 
shore and reached Oak Point, so called from a 
few scrub oaks which here begin to diversify 
the forest of pine and fir. The pelicans, which 
we everywhere saw, appeared to be impatient 
of the long stay we made in fishing. Leaving 
the island, we found the lands along the shore 

went into the Lake Winnipeg region for the first time, 
where he encountered Henry. Three years later all the 
traders of this district, including Pond, met at Sturgeon 
Lake and agreed to pool their interests. This was the 
beginning of the famous North West Company. Pond 
was a man of pugnacious disposition. In the Detroit 
period of his trading career he fought a duel in which 
his opponent fell, and which caused Pond to leave the 
country. In 1782 he shot and killed a trader named 
Wadin, with whom he had had a quarrel. Wadin's 
widow applied for a trial and Pond was sent to Quebec 
to stand trial, but was acquitted for lack of jurisdiction. 
Returning to the Northwest, he killed John Ross, a well- 
known trader, in a duel fought at Great Slave Lake in 
1787. The next year he sold his interest in the North 
West Company and retired to the United States, dying 
at his native Milford in 1807. Pond's journal of his 
earlier years in the army and the fur trade is printed in 
Wis. Hist. Colls., XVIII, 314-54. Editor. 



low and wooded with birch and marsh maple 
intermixed with spruce-fir. The beach is 
gravelly, and the points rocky. 

To the westward of Pike River, which we 
passed on the first of September, is a rock of 
great length, called the Roche Rouge, and 
entirely composed of a pitrre & calumet, or 
stone used by the Indians for making tobacco- 
pipe bowls. It is of a light red color, inter- 
spersed with veins of brown, and yields very 
readily to the knife. 

On the seventh of September we were over- 
taken by Messrs. Joseph and Thomas Fro- 
bisher 39 and Mr. Patterson. 40 On the twentieth 
we crossed the bay together, composing a fleet 
of thirty canoes and a hundred and thirty men. 
We were short of provisions. 

On the twenty-first it blew hard and snow 
began to fall. The storm continued till the 

39 The brothers Frobisher, Joseph, Thomas, and 
Benjamin, were among the early British traders to 
come into the Northwest. Joseph and Thomas founded 
the firm of Frobisher Brothers, but in 1778 Thomas 
retired and Benjamin succeeded him. Joseph and 
Benjamin were active in the formation of the North 
West Company. Joseph was a noted explorer of western 
Canada. He retired from the fur trade in 1798, living 
thereafter at Montreal. Editor. 

40 Charles Patterson was another early British trader 
in the Northwest, and one of the founders of the North 
West Company. In 1788 he was drowned with his 
entire crew in Lake Michigan near a place still known 
as Patterson's Point, in western Mackinac County, 
Michigan. Editor. 


twenty-fifth, by which time the small lakes 
were frozen over and two feet of snow lay on 
level ground in the woods. This early severity 
of the season filled us with serious alarm, for 
the country was uninhabited for two hundred 
miles on every side of us and if detained by 
winter our destruction was certain. In this 
state of peril we continued our voyage day 
and night. The fears of our men were a suffi- 
cient motive for their exertions. 

On the first of October we gained the 
mouth of the River de Bourbon, Pasquayah, or 
Sascatchiwaine 41 and proceeded to ascend its 
stream. The Bourbon is a large river and has 
its sources to the westward. 42 The lands which 
we passed after the twenty-first of September 
are more hilly and rocky than those described 
before. The trees are poplar and spruce. The 
rocks are chiefly of limestone. Our course from 
the entrance of Lake Winipegon was north- 
west northerly. The lake contains sturgeon, 
but we were not able to take any. At four 
leagues above the mouth of the river is the 
Grand Rapide, two leagues in length, up which 
the canoes are dragged with ropes. At the end 
of this is a carrying-place of two miles, through 

41 The lower part of the Sascatchiwaine was once 
called the River de Bourbon. Pasquayah is the name 
of an upper portion of the Sascatchiwaine. Author. 

42 The river is the modern Saskatchewan, which 
gives name to a province of Canada and drains a vast 
area between the Rocky Mountains and Lake Winni- 
peg. Editor. 



a forest almost uniformly of pine trees. Here 
we met with Indians fishing for sturgeon. 
Their practice is to watch behind the points 
where the current forms an eddy, in which the 
sturgeon, coming to rest themselves, are 
easily speared. The soil is light and sandy. 
A vessel of any burden might safely navigate 
Lake Winipegon from its southwest corner to 
the Grand Rapide. 

Lake Winipegon, or Winipic, or the Lake 
of the Killistinons; or Cristinaux, empties itself 
into Hudson's Bay at Fort York by a river 
sometimes called Fort Nelson River. Its 
length is said to be one hundred and twenty 
leagues. Its breadth is unknown. I saw no 
land in any direction after leaving Oak Point. 

On the second we continued our voyage 
against the current of the Bourbon, which was 
strong and interrupted by several rapids. On 
the third we entered Lake de Bourbon, called 
by the English after the Indians Cedar Lake. 
This name is derived from the cedar tree 
(thuya) which covers its banks, and which is 
not found to the northward of this region. 

On the fourth we reached the opposite ex- 
tremity of Lake de Bourbon. This lake is 
eighteen leagues in length and has many deep 
bays receding to the northward. The land by 
which they are bordered is in almost all in- 
stances out of sight. Several islands, some of 
which are large, are also in this lake. The 
shores are generally rocky. At the north end 


there was in the French time a fort, or trading- 
house, called Fort de Bourbon and built by 
M. de Saint Pierre, a French officer, who was 
the first adventurer into these parts of the 
country. 43 

At and adjacent to this fort are several of 
the mouths of the river Sascatchiwaine. Here 
we took several sturgeon, using a seine the 
meshes of which were large enough to admit the 
fish's head and which we made fast to two canoes. 

On the sixth we ascended the Sascatchiwaine, 
the current of which was here only moderately 
strong; but the banks were marshy and over- 
flowed so that it was with difficulty we found 
a dry space large enough to encamp upon. 
Beaver lodges were numerous, and the river 
was everywhere covered with geese, ducks, and 
other wild fowl. No rising ground was to be 
seen and the wood, which was chiefly willow, 
nowhere exceeded a man's wrist in thickness. 

On the eighth we resumed our voyage before 
daylight, making all speed to reach a fishing- 
place, since winter was very fast approaching. 
Meeting two canoes of Indians, we engaged 
them to accompany us as hunters. The num- 
ber of ducks and geese which they killed was 
absolutely prodigious. 

43 In 1766 Carver calls Lake de Bourbon " the most 
northward of those yet discovered." Author. 

Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Vrendrye, 
notable explorer of the Canadian Northwest, estab- 
lished Fort Bourbon here in 1 749. The Lake is now 
known as Cedar Lake. Editor. 


anfe Slfctotturc^ 

At eighty leagues above Fort de Bourbon, at 
the head of a stream which falls into the Sas- 
catchiwaine and into which we had turned, we 
found the Pasquayah village. 44 It consisted of 
thirty families, lodged in tents of a circular 
form and composed of dressed ox-skins, 
stretched upon poles twelve feet in length, and 
leaning against a stake driven into the ground 
in the center. 

On our arrival the chief, named Chatique, or 
the Pelican, came down upon the beach attend- 
ed by thirty followers, all armed with bows 
and arrows and with spears. Chatique was a 
man of more than six feet in height, somewhat 
corpulent and of a very doubtful physiognomy. 
He invited us to his tent, and we observed that 
he was particularly anxious to bestow his 
hospitalities on those who were the owners 
of the goods. We suspected an evil design but 
judged it better to lend ourselves to the 
treachery than to discover fear. We entered 
the lodge accordingly, and soon perceived that 
we were surrounded by armed men. 

Chatique presently rose up and told us that 
he was glad to see us arrive; that the young 
men of the village as well as himself had long 
been in want of many things of which we were 
possessed in abundance; that we must be well 
aware of his power to prevent our going farther; 

44 At the junction of the Pasquia River with the 
Saskatchewan. Here the French built Fort Paskoyac 
before 1755. It is the site of modern Pas Mission or 
Cumberland Station. Editor. 

that if we passed now he could put us all to 
death on our return; and that under these cir- 
cumstances he expected us to be exceedingly 
liberal in our presents: adding, that to avoid 
misunderstanding he would inform us of what 
it was that he must have. It consisted in 
three casks of gunpowder, four bags of shot and 
ball, two bales of tobacco, three kegs of rum, 
and three guns, together with knives, flints, 
and some smaller articles. He went on to say 
that he had before now been acquainted with 
white men and knew that they promised more 
than they performed; that with the number of 
men which he had, he could take the whole of 
our property without our consent; and that, 
therefore, his demands ought to be regarded as 
very reasonable: that he was a peaceable man 
and one that contented himself with moderate 
views, in order to avoid quarrels; finally, that 
he desired us to signify our assent to his proposi- 
tion before we quitted our places. 

The men in the canoes exceeded the Indians 
in number, but they were unarmed and with- 
out a leader; our consultation was, therefore, 
short, and we promised to comply. This done, 
the pipe was handed round as usual and the 
omission of this ceremony on our entrance had 
sufficiently marked the intentions of Chatique. 
The pipe dismissed, we obtained permission 
to depart, for the purpose of assorting the 
presents; and these bestowed, or rather yielded 
up, we hastened away from the plunderers. 



We had supposed the affair finished, but 
before we had proceeded two miles we saw a 
canoe behind us. On this we dropped astern to 
give the canoes that were following us an 
opportunity of joining, lest, being alone, they 
should be insulted. Presently, however, Cha- 
tique in a solitary canoe rushed into the midst 
of our squadron and boarded one of our canoes, 
spear in hand, demanding a keg of rum and 
threatening to put to death the first that op- 
posed him. We saw that our only alternative 
was to kill this daring robber or to submit 
to his exaction. The former part would have 
been attended with very mischievous conse- 
quences, and we therefore curbed our indigna- 
tion and chose the latter. On receiving the rum, 
he saluted us with the Indian cry, and departed. 

Every day we were on the water before dawn 
and paddled along till dark. The nights were 
frosty and no provisions, excepting a few wild 
fowl, were to be procured. We were in daily fear 
that our progress would be arrested by the ice. 

On the twenty-sixth we reached Cumberland 
House, one of the factories of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, seated on Sturgeon Lake in 
about 54 north latitude and 102 longitude 
west from Greenwich. This house had been 
built the year before by Mr. Hearne, who was 
now absent on his well-known journey of 
discovery. 45 We found it garrisoned by High- 

45 Samuel Hearne made his notable voyages of 
exploration from Prince of Wales Fort to the Arctic 


landers from the Orkney Islands, and under 
the command of a Mr. Cockings, 46 by whom, 
though unwelcome guests, 47 we were treated 
with much civility. The design in building 
this house, was to prevent the Indians from 
dealing with the Canadian merchants, and 
to induce them to go to Hudson's Bay. It is 

Ocean in the years 1769-72. He established Cumber- 
land House, as Henry states, but this was two years 
after, rather than before his famous exploration to the 
Arctic. Cumberland House, says Elliott Coues, was at 
"the focus of a vast network of waters whose strands 
radiate in every direction. A canoe could start from 
this house, and with no portage of more than a day's 
length could be launched on the Arctic Ocean, Hud- 
son's Bay, Gulf of St. Lawrence, or Gulf of Mexico; 
and without much greater interruption could be floated 
on to the Pacific Ocean. "Editor. 

46 Matthew Cocking was a trader of the Hudson's Bay 
Company who in 1 772-73 had conducted an exploration 
from York Factory southwestward into the country of 
the Blackfeet. The discoveries made on this journey 
determined the Company to establish Cumberland 
House the following year, and Cocking was placed in 
command. His journal of his journey of 1772-7313 
printed in Royal Society of Canada, Proceedings and 
Transactions, Third Series, Vol. II, 91-121. Editor. 

47 Cumberland House was a post of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, by whom Henry and the other Canadian 
traders were regarded as interlopers. The North West 
Company, which these traders were shortly to create, 
conducted, throughout its entire history, a fierce trade 
rivalry with the older firm, which reached the height, 
finally, of open warfare between the partisans of the 
two. This was terminated by the amalgamation of the 
North West with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. 



distant one hundred leagues from Chatique's 
village, and of this space the first fifty leagues 
comprise lands nearly level with the water; but 
in the latter the surface is more lofty, rising a 
hundred feet above the river, and increasing 
in height as we advanced. The soil is a white clay, 
mixed with sand. The wood is small arid scanty. 

At Cumberland House the canoes separated, 
M. Cadotte going with four to Fort des Prai- 
ries, Mr. Pond with two to Fort Dauphin, 
and others proceeding on still different routes. 
Messrs. Frobisher retained six and myself four, 
and we resolved on joining our stock and winter- 
ing together. We steered for the river Church- 
ill, or Missinipi, to the east of Beaver Lake, or 
Lake aux Castors. 

Sturgeon Lake, 48 which we now crossed, is 
twenty leagues in length. On the east are high 
lands, and on the west low islands. The river 
Maligne 49 falls into it. This we ascended, but 
not without much labor from 'the numerous 
rapids, on account of which the Canadians in 
their vexation have given it the name it bears. 

We crossed Beaver Lake 60 on the first day 
of November, and the very next morning it 

48 Now known as Cumberland Lake. Its principal 
northeastern offset, known as Namew Lake, is the 
initial one of the great chain of lakes which, says Coues, 
"offer a practicable thoroughfare" to Hudson Bay 
and the Arctic Ocean. Editor. 

49 Modern Sturgeon Weir River. Editor. 

50 Now called Amisk Lake, in eastern Saskatchewan. 


was frozen over. Happily we were now at a 
place abounding with fish, and here, therefore, 
we resolved on wintering. 

Our first object was to procure food. We 
had only three days' stock remaining and we 
were forty-three persons in number. Our forty 
men were divided into three parties, of which 
two were detached to the River aux Castors, 51 
on which the ice was strong enough to allow of 
setting the nets, in the manner heretofore 
described. The third party was employed in 
building our house, or fort; and in this within 
ten days we saw ourselves commodiously 
lodged. Indeed, we had almost built a village; 
or, in soberer terms, we had raised buildings 
round a quadrangle such as really assumed in 
the wilds which encompassed it a formidable 
appearance. In front was the house designed 
for Messrs. Frobisher and myself; and the men 
had four houses, of which one was placed on 
each side and two in the rear. 

Our canoes were disposed of on scaffolds, 
for the ground being frozen we could not bury 
them, as is the usual practice, and which is 
done to protect them from that severity of cold 
which occasions the bark to contract and split. 

The houses being finished, we divided the 
men anew, making four parties of nine each. 

51 Still known by the English equivalent of Beaver 
River. It was early an important trade route, since by 
its headwaters there is an easy portage to Lac la Biche, 
which drains into the Athabasca River. Editor. 


Crafcelg an& 

Four were retained as wood cutters; and each 
party was to provide for its own subsistence. 

Our fishing was very successful. We took 
trout of the weight of from ten to fifty pounds, 
whitefish of five pounds, and pike of the usual 
size. There were also pickerel, called poissons 
dores (gilt fish) and sturgeon, but of the last 
we caught only one. The Indians soon after 
our arrival killed two elks, otherwise called 
moose-deer. & 2 

Lake aux 'Castors, or Beaver Lake, is seven 
leagues in length and from three to five in 
breadth. It has several islands, of which the 
largest does not exceed a mile in circumference. 
The lands on either shore are mountainous and 

Messrs. Frobisher and myself were con- 
tinually employed in fishing. We made holes 
in the ice and took trout with the line in twenty 
and thirty fathoms water, using whitefish of a 
pound weight for our bait, which we sunk to 
the bottom, or very near it. 

In this manner I have at times caught more 
than twenty large trout a day, but my more 
usual mode was that of spearing. By one 
means or other fish was plenty with us, but we 
suffered severely from the cold in fishing. On 
the twenty-fifth the frost was so excessive that 
we had nearly perished. Fahrenheit's ther- 
mometer was at 32 below in the shade; the 

62 Cerws dices. Author. 



mercury contracted one-eighth, and for four 
days did not rise into the tube. 

Several Indians brought beaver and bears' 
meat, and some skins for sale. Their practice 
was to remain with us one night and leave us 
in the morning. 


Chapter 10 


THE plains, or as the French denominate 
them the prairies, or meadows, compose 
an extensive tract of country which is 
watered by the Elk or Athabasca, the Sascat- 
chiwaine, the Red River and others, and runs 
southward to the Gulf of Mexico. On my first 
setting out for the Northwest I promised my- 
self to visit this region, and I now prepared 
to accomplish the undertaking. Long journeys 
on the snow are thought of but as trifles in 
this part of the world. 

On the first day of January, 1776, 1 left our 
fort on Beaver Lake, attended by two men and 
provided with dried meat, frozen fish, and a 
small quantity of praline, made of roasted 
maize rendered palatable with sugar, and which 
I had brought from the Sault de Ste. Marie for 
this express occasion. The kind and friendly 
disposition of Mr. Joseph Frobisher induced 
him to bear me company as far as Cumberland 
House, a journey of a hundred and twenty 
miles. Mr. Frobisher was attended by one 

Our provisions were drawn by the men upon 
sledges made of thin boards, a foot in breadth 
and curved upward in front after the Indian 


fashion. Our clothing for night and day was 
nearly the same; and the cold was so intense 
that, exclusively of warm woolen clothes, we 
were obliged to wrap ourselves continually in 
beaver blankets, or at least in ox skins, which 
the traders call buffalo robes. At night we made 
our first encampment at the head of the Ma- 
ligne, where one of our parties was fishing with 
but very indifferent success. 

On the following evening we encamped at 
the mouth of the same river. The snow was 
four feet deep, and we found it impossible 
to keep ourselves warm even with the aid of a 
large fire. 

On the fourth day as well of the month as 
of our journey, we arrived at Cumberland 
House. Mr. Cockings received us with much 
hospitality, making us partake of all he had, 
which however was but little. Himself and his 
men subsisted wholly upon fish, in which stur- 
geon bore the largest proportion, and this was 
caught near the house. The next morning I 
took leave of Mr. Frobisher, who is certainly 
the first man that ever went the same distance 
in such a climate and upon snowshoes to con- 
voy a friend. 

From Cumberland House I pursued a west- 
erly course on the ice, following the southern 
bank of Sturgeon Lake till I crossed the neck of 
land by which alone it is separated from the 
great river Pasquayah, or Sascatchiwaine. In 
the evening I encamped on the north bank of 


Cratoefce? anii 

this river at the distance of ten leagues from 
Cumberland House. 

The depth of the snow and the intenseness 
of the cold rendered my progress so much 
slower than I had reckoned upon that I soon 
began to fear the want of provisions. The sun 
did not rise till half past nine o'clock in the 
morning and it set at half past two in the after- 
noon; it is, however, at no time wholly dark 
in these climates, the northern lights and the 
reflection of the snow affording always suffi- 
cient light for the traveler. Add to this that 
the river, the course of which I was ascending, 
was a guide with the aid of which I could not 
lose my way. Every day's journey was com- 
menced at three o'clock in the morning. 

I was not far advanced before the country 
betrayed some approaches to the characteristic 
nakedness of the plains. The wood dwindled 
away both in size and quantity, so that it was 
with difficulty that we could collect sufficient 
for making a fire, and without fire we could 
not drink, for melted snow was our only re- 
source, the ice on the river being too thick 
to be penetrated by the axe. 

On the evening of the sixth, the weather 
continuing severely cold, I made my two men 
sleep on the same skin with myself, one on 
each side; and though this arrangement was 
particularly beneficial to myself, it increased 
the comfort of all. At the usual hour in the 
morning we attempted to rise, but found that 


a foot of snow had fallen upon our bed, as well 
as extinguished and covered our fire. In this 
situation we remained till daybreak, when with 
much exertion we collected fresh fuel. Pro- 
ceeding on our journey, we found that the use 
of our sledges had become impracticable 
through the quantity of newly fallen snow, and 
were now constrained to carry our provisions 
on our backs. Unfortunately, they were a 
diminished burden. 

For the two days succeeding the depth of the 
snow and the violence of the winds greatly 
retarded our journey; but from the ninth to 
the twelfth the elements were less hostile, and 
we traveled rapidly. No trace of anything 
human presented itself on our road, except 
that we saw the old wintering-ground of 
Mr. Finlay, 53 who had left it some years before 
and was now stationed at Fort des Prairies. 
This fort was the stage we had to make before 
we could enter the prairies, or plains; and on 
examining our provisions we found only suf- 
ficient for five days, while even at the swiftest 
rate we had traveled, a journey of twelve days 
was before us. My men began to fear being 
starved, as seeing no prospect of relief; but 
I endeavored to maintain their courage by 

63 James Finlay, one of the earliest English traders to 
penetrate to this portion of Canada. Matthew Cock- 
ing's journal shows that he was here as early as 1767. 
He later retired to Montreal, where he became a 
prominent citizen. Finlay River is named for his son 
James, who entered the fur trade in 1785. Editor. 



representing that I should certainly kill red 
deer and elk, of which the tracks were visible 
along the banks of the river and on the sides of 
the hills. What I hoped for in this respect it 
was not easy to accomplish, for the animals 
kept within the shelter of the woods and the 
snow was too deep to let me seek them there. 

On the fifteenth our situation was rendered 
still more alarming by the commencement of a 
fresh fall of snow, which added nearly two feet 
to the depth of that which was on the ground 
before. At the same tune, we were scarcely able 
to collect enough wood for making a fire to 
melt the snow. The only trees around us were 
starveling willows, and the hills which dis- 
covered themselves at a small distance were 
bare of every vegetable production, such as 
could rear itself above the snow. Their ap- 
pearance was rather that of lofty snow-banks, 
than of hills. We were now on the borders of 
the plains. 

On the twentieth the last remains of our 
provisions were expended, but I had taken the 
precaution to conceal a cake of chocolate in 
reserve for an occasion like that which was 
now arrived. Toward evening my men, after 
walking the whole day, began to lose their 
strength, but we nevertheless kept on our feet 
till it was late; and when we encamped I in- 
formed them of the treasure which was still in 
store. I desired them to fill the kettle with 
snow, and argued with them the while that the 

chocolate would keep us alive for five days at 
least, an interval in which we should surely 
meet with some Indian at the chase. Their 
spirits revived at the suggestion, and the kettle 
being filled with two gallons of water, I put 
into it one square of chocolate. The quantity 
was scarcely sufficient to alter the color of the 
water; but each of us drank half a gallon of the 
warm liquor, by which we were much refreshed, 
and in its enjoyment felt no more the fa- 
tigues of the day. In the morning we allowed 
ourselves a similar repast, after finishing which 
we marched vigorously for six hours. But now 
the spirits of my companions again deserted 
them and they declared that they neither 
would nor could proceed any farther. For my- 
self, they advised me to leave them and accom- 
plish the journey as I could, but for them- 
selves they said that they must die soon and 
might as well die where they were as anywhere 

While things were in this melancholy posture 
I filled the kettle and boiled another square of 
chocolate. When prepared, I prevailed upon 
my desponding companions to return to their 
warm beverage. On taking it they recovered 
inconceivably, and after smoking a pipe con- 
sented to go forward. While their stomachs 
were comforted by the warm water they 
walked well; but as evening approached, 
fatigue overcame them and they relapsed into 
their former condition; and the chocolate now 



being almost entirely consumed I began to fear 
that I must really abandon them; for I was 
able to endure more hardship than they; and 
had it not been for keeping company with them 
I could have advanced double the distance 
within the time which had been spent. To 
my great joy, however, the usual quantity of 
warm water revived them. 

For breakfast the next morning I put the 
last square of chocolate into the kettle, and 
our meal finished, we began our march in but 
very indifferent spirits. We were surrounded 
by large herds of wolves, which sometimes 
came close upon us, and who knew, as we were 
prone to think, the extremity in which we were 
and marked us for their prey; but I carried a gun 
and this was our protection. I fired several 
times but unfortunately missed at each, for a 
morsel of wolf 's flesh would have afforded us 
a banquet. 

Our misery, nevertheless, was still nearer its 
end than we imagined, and the event was such 
as to give one of the innumerable proofs that 
despair is not made for man. Before sunset we 
discovered on the ice some remains of the bones 
of an elk, left there by the wolves. Having 
instantly gathered them, we encamped, and 
filling our kettle, prepared ourselves a meal of 
strong and excellent soup. The greater part of 
the night was passed in boiling and regaling on 
our booty, and early in the morning we felt 
ourselves strong enough to proceed. 


This day, the twenty-fifth, we found the 
borders of the plains reaching to the very 
banks of the river, which were two hundred 
feet above the level of the ice. Water marks 
presented themselves at twenty feet above the 
actual level. 

Want had lost its dominion over us. At noon 
we saw the horns of a red deer standing in the 
snow on the river. On examination we found 
that the whole carcass was with them, the 
animal having broken through the ice in the 
beginning of the winter ia^attempting to cross 
the river too early in the season; while his 
horns, fastening themselves in the ice, had 
prevented him from sinking. By cutting away 
the ice we were enabled to lay bare a part of 
the back and shoulders and thus procure a 
stock of food amply sufficient for the rest of 
our journey. We accordingly encamped and 
employed our kettle to good purpose, forgot 
all our misfortunes, and prepared to walk with 
cheerfulness the twenty leagues which, as we 
reckoned, still lay between ourselves and Fort 
des Prairies. 

Though the deer must have been in this 
situation ever since the month of November, 
yet its flesh was perfectly good. Its horns alone 
were five feet high or moreyand it will there- 
fore not appear extraordinary that they should 
be seen above the snow. 

On the twenty-seventh, in the morning, we 
discovered the print of snowshoes, demon- 



strating that several persons had passed that 
way the day before. These were the first marks 
of other human feet than our own which we 
had seen since our leaving Cumberland House; 
and it was nuich to feel that we had fellow- 
creatures in the wide waste surrounding us. 
In the evening we reached the fort. 54 

At Fort des Prairies I remained several days, 
hospitably entertained by my friends, who 
covered* their table with the tongues and mar- 
row of wild bulls. The quantity of provisions 
which I found collected here exceeded every- 
thing of which I had previously formed a 
notion. In one heap I saw fifty tons of beef, 
so fat that the men could scarcely find a suffi- 
ciency of lean. 

I had come to see the plains, and I had yet a 
serious journey to perform in order to gratify 
my curiosity. Their southern boundary I 
have already named; and I understood that 
they stretched northward to the sixtieth degree 
of north latitude and westward to the feet of 
the Rocky Mountains, or Northern Andes, of 
which the great chain pursues a northwesterly 
direction. The mountains seen in high latitudes 
were regarded as part of this chain, and said to 
be inhabited by numerous bands of Indians. 

64 This fort was "about twelve miles in an air line" 
below the forks pf the Saskatchewan, on the site of an 
older fort established by the French in 1753. Here a 
century later the Hudson's Bay Company had Fort a la 
Corne, named in honor of the builder of the original 
French fort, M , de la Corne. Editor. 


The Plains cross the River Pasquayah, Kejee- 
chewon, Sascatchiwaine, or Shascatchiwan, a 
little above Fort des Prairies. 

The Indians who inhabit them immediately 
to the southward are called psinipoilles or 
Assiniboins. 65 At the fort I met with a woman 
who was a slave among the Osinipoilles, taken 
far to* the westward of the mountains in a 
country which the latter incessantly ravage. 
She informed me that the men of the country 
never suffer themselves to be taken, but always 
die in the field rather than fall into captivity. 
The women and children are made slaves, but 
are not put to death nor tormented. 56 Her 
nation lived on a great river running to the 
southwest, and cultivated beans, squashes, 
maize, and tobacco. The lands were generally 
mountainous and covered with pine and fir. 
She had heard of men who wear their beards. 
She had been taken in one of the incursions 
of the Osinipoilles. Of the men who were in 
the village, the greater part were killed, but a 
few escaped by swimming across the river. 

55 The Assiniboin tribe is closely related to the Sioux, 
having seceded from the latter in the seventeenth 
century, according to Perrot. Editor. 

b6 The Five Nations, and others, are known to have 
treated their prisoners with great cruelty; but there is 
too much reason to believe that the exercise of this 
cruelty has been often encouraged, and its malignity 
often increased, by European instigators and assistants. 


Cratoefe? atifc 

The woman belonged to a numerous band of 
Osinipoilles which was at the fort selling its 
meat and skins. I resolved on traveling with 
these people to their village, and accordingly 
set out on the fifth of February, accompanied 
by Messrs. Patterson and Holmes, 57 and at- 
tended by my two Canadians. 

67 William Holmes, a prominent Northwestern trader, 
and one of the stockholders in the North West Company. 
A partner of Holmes, James Grant, was also active in 
the fur trade of the interior. Grant River and County 
in southwestern Wisconsin are probably named after 
this man. Editor. 


Chapter n 


WE departed at an early hour and after a 
march of about two miles ascended the 
table land which lies above the river, 
and of which the level is two hundred feet 
higher than that of the land on which the fort 
is built. From the low ground upward the soil 
is covered with poplar of a large growth, but 
the summit of the ridge is no sooner gained than 
the wood is found to be smaller and so thinly 
scattered that a wheel carriage might pass in 
any direction. At noon we crossed a small river 
called Moose River, flowing at the feet of very 
lofty banks. Moose River is said to fall into 
Lake Dauphin. 

Beyond this stream the wood grows still 
more scanty and the land more and more level. 
Our course was southerly. The snow lay four 
feet deep. The Indians traveled swiftly, and 
in keeping pace with them my companions 
and myself had too much exercise to suffer 
from the coldness of the atmosphere; but our 
snowshoes being of a broader make than those 
of the Indians, we had much fatigue in follow- 
ing their track. The women led and we 
marched till sunset when we reached a small 
coppice of wood, under the protection of which 



we encamped. The baggage of the Indians was 
drawn by dogs, who kept pace with the women 
and appeared to be under their command. As 
soon as we halted the women set up the tents, 
which were constructed and covered like those 
of the Christinaux. 

The tent in which I slept contained fourteen 
persons, each of whom lay with his feet to the 
fire, which was in the middle; but the night was 
so cold that even this precaution, with the as- 
sistance of our buffalo robes, was insufficient 
to keep us warm. Our supper was made on the 
tongues of the wild ox, or buffalo, boiled in my 
kettle, which was the only one in the camp. 

At break of day, or rather before that time, 
we left our encampment, the women still 
preceding us. On our march we saw but little 
wood, and that only here and there and at 
great distances. We crossed two rivulets steal- 
ing along the bottom of very deep channels, 
which, no doubt, are better filled in the season 
of the melting of the snow. The banks here as 
on the Pasquayah or Sascatchiwaine are com- 
posed of a whitish clay, mingled with sand. 

On the sixth of February we had a fine clear 
sky, but the air was exceedingly cold and bleak, 
no shelter from woods being afforded us on 
either side. There was but little wind, and 
yet at times enough to cause a slight drift of 
snow. In the evening we encamped in a small 
wood, of which the largest trees did not exceed 
a man's wrist in thickness. On the seventh we 

left our encampment at an early hour. Tracks 
of large herds of animals presented themselves, 
which the Indians said were those of red deer. 
Our course was southwest and the weather 
very cold. The country was one uninterrupted 
plain, in many parts of which no wood, not even 
the smallest shrub, was to be seen; a continued 
level without a single eminence; a frozen 
sea, of which the little coppices were the islands. 
That behind which we had encamped the night 
before soon sunk in the horizon, and the eye 
had nothing left, save only the sky and snow. 
The latter was still four feet in depth. 

At noon we discovered, and presently 
passed by, a diminutive wood, or island. At 
four in the afternoon another was in sight. 
When I could see none I was alive to the dan- 
ger to be feared from a storm of wind, which 
would have driven the snow upon us. The 
Indians related that whole families often perish 
in this manner. 

It was dark before we reached the wood. 
A fire, of which we had much need, was soon 
kindled by the women. Axes were useless 
here, for the largest tree yielded easily to the 
hand. It was not only small, but in a state 
of decay, and easily extracted from the loose 
soil in which it grew. We supped on wild beef 
and snow-water. In the night the wind changed 
to the southward and the weather became 
milder. I was still asleep, when the women 
began their noisy preparations for our march. 


Crafcelg attfc 

The striking of the tents, the tongues of the 
women, and the cries of the dogs were all 
heard at once. At the first dawn of day we 
recommenced our journey. Nothing was 
visible but the snow and sky; and the snow was 
drifted into ridges resembling waves. 

Soon after sunrise we descried a herd of 
oxen, extending a mile and a half in length and 
too numerous to be counted. They traveled, 
not one after another, as in the snow other 
animals usually do, but in a broad phalanx, 
slowly, and sometimes stopping to feed. We 
did not disturb them, because to have attacked 
them would have occasioned much delay to our 
progress; and because the dogs were already 
sufficiently burdened not to need the addition 
of the spoil. 

At two o'clock we reached a small lake sur- 
rounded with wood, and where the trees were 
of a size somewhat larger than those behind. 
There were birch trees among the rest. I 
observed that wherever there was water there 
was wood. All the snow upon the lake was 
trodden down by the feet of wild oxen. When 
this was the case on the land an abundance of 
coarse grass discovered itself beneath. We 
were unable to penetrate to the water in the 
lake, though we cut a hole in the ice to the 
depth of three feet. Where we cleared the ground 
for our encampments no stones were to be seen. 

This evening we had scarcely encamped 
when there arrived two Osinipoilles, sent by 

the great chief of the nation, whose name was 
the Great Road, to meet the troop. The chief 
had been induced to send them through his anx- 
iety, occasioned by their longer absence than 
had been expected. The messengers expressed 
themselves much pleased at finding strangers 
with their friends, and told us that we were 
within one day's march of their village, and 
that the great chief would be highly gratified 
in learning the long journey which we had per- 
formed to visit him. They added that in 
consequence of finding us they must themselves 
return immediately, to apprise him of our 
coming and enable him to prepare for our 

Fortunately they had not been able to take 
any refreshment before a storm of wind and 
snow commenced which prevented their de- 
parture, and in which they must have been 
lost, had it happened later. The storm con- 
tinued all the night and part of the next day. 
Clouds of snow, raised by the wind, fell on the 
encampment and almost buried it. I had no 
resource tut in my buffalo robe. 

In the morning we were alarmed by the 
approach of a herd of oxen, who came from the 
open ground to shelter themselves in the wood. 
Their numbers were so great that we dreaded 
lest they should fairly trample down the camp; 
nor could it have happened otherwise but for 
the dogs, almost as numerous as they, who 
were able to keep them in check. The Indians 


anH a&toenture 

killed several when close upon their tents; but 
neither the fire of the Indians nor the noise of 
the dogs could soon drive them away. What- 
ever were the terrors which filled the wood, they 
had no other escape from the terrors of the 

In the night of the tenth the wind fell. The 
interval had been passed in feasting on the 
tongues of the oxen. On the morning of the 
eleventh the messengers left us before day- 
light. We had already charged them with a 
present for the chief, consisting in tobacco and 
vermilion. Of these articles, the former 
exceeds all others in estimation; for the Indians 
are universally great smokers, men, women and 
children, and no affair can be transacted, civil 
or religious, without the pipe. 

Our march was performed at a quick pace 
in the track of the messengers. All the fore 
part of the day escaped without discovering to 
us a single wood, or even a single twig, with f 
the exception of a very small island, lying on 
our right; but at four o'clock in the afternoon 
we reached a little scrub, or bushy tract, on 
which we encamped. We were at no great 
distance from the village; but the Indians, as 
is their custom, delayed their entry till the 

On the twelfth at ten o'clock in the forenoon 
we were in sight of a wood, or island, as the 
term not unnaturally is, as well with the 
Indians as others; it appeared to be about a 


mile and a half long. Shortly after, we observed 
smoke arising from it, and were informed that 
it was the smoke of the village. The morning 
was clear and the sun shining. 

At eleven o'clock two fresh messengers came 
from the village, by whom the strangers were 
formally welcomed on the part of the chief. 
They told us that they were directed to con- 
duct us and our servants to a lodge, which had 
been prepared for our reception. 

At the entrance of the wood we were met by 
a large band of Indians, having the appearance 
of a guard, each man being armed with his bow 
and spear and having his quiver filled with 
arrows. In this, as in much that followed, there 
was more of order and discipline than in any- 
thing which I had before witnessed among 
Indians. The power of these guards appeared 
to be great, for they treated very roughly some 
of the people who, in their opinion, approached 
us too closely. Forming themselves in regu- 
lar file on either side of us, they escorted 
us to the lodge, or tent, which was assigned us. 
It was of a circular form, covered with leather, 
and not less than twenty feet in diameter. On 
the ground within, ox-skins were spread for 
beds and seats. 




ONE-HALF of the tent was appropriated 
to our use. Several women waited upon 
us to make a fire and bring water, which 
latter they fetched from a neighboring tent. 
Shortly after our arrival these women brought 
us water, unasked for, saying that it was for 
washing. The refreshment was exceedingly 
acceptable, for on our march we had become so 
dirty that our complexions were not very dis- 
tinguishable from those of the Indians them- 

The same women presently borrowed our 
kettle, telling us that they wanted to boil 
something for us to eat. Soon after we heard 
the voice of a man passing through the village 
and making a speech as he went. Our inter- 
preter informed us that his speech contained an 
invitation to a feast, accompanied by a proc- 
lamation in which the people were required to 
behave with decorum toward the strangers, 
and apprised that the soldiers had orders to 
punish those who should do otherwise. 

While we were procuring this explanation an 
Indian, who, appeared to be a chief, came into 
our tent and invited us to the feast, adding 
that he would himself show us the way. We 


followed him accordingly, and he carried us to 
the tent of the great chief, which we found 
neither more ornamented nor better furnished 
than the rest. 

At our entrance the chief arose from his seat, 
saluted us in the Indian manner by shaking 
hands, and addressed us in a few words, in 
which he offered his thanks for the confidence 
which we had reposed in him in trusting our- 
selves so far from our own country. After we 
were seated, which was on bear skins spread 
on the ground, the pipe, as usual, was intro- 
duced and presented in succession to each per- 
son present. Each took his whiff and then let it 
pass to his neighbor. The stem, which was 
four feet in length, was held by an officer 
attendant on the chief. The bowl was of red 
marble or pipestone. 

When the pipe had gone its round the chief, 
without rising from his seat, delivered a speech 
of some length, but of which the general pur- 
port was of the nature already described in 
speaking of the Indians of the Lake of the 
Woods. 58 The speech ended, several of the 
Indians began to* weep, and they were soon 
joined by the whole party. Had I not pre- 
viously been witness to a weeping-scene of this 
description I should certainly have been ap- 
prehensive of some disastrous catastrophe; but 
as it was I listened to it with tranquillity. It 
lasted for about ten minutes, after which all 

68 See Part Two, chapter 8. Author. 

tears were dried away, and the honors of the 
feast were performed by the attending chiefs. 
This consisted in giving to every guest a dish 
containing a boiled wild ox's tongue, for pre- 
paring which my kettle had been borrowed. 
The repast finished, the great chief dismissed 
us by shaking hands, and we returned to our 

Having inquired among these people why 
they always ^weep at their feasts, and some- 
times at their councils, I was answered that 
their tears flowed to the memory of those de- 
ceased relations who formerly assisted both at 
the one and the other; that their absence on 
these occasions necessarily brought them fresh 
into their minds, and at the same time led 
them to reflect on their own brief and uncer- 
tain continuance. 59 

The chief to whose kindly reception we were 
so much indebted was about five feet ten inches 
high, and of a complexion rather darker than 

59 The Ossinipoiles are the Issati of the older travel- 
ers, and have sometimes been called the Weepers. 

This is an error on the part of Henry. Before the 
Sioux obtained firearms from Europeans they used flint 
knives and arrowheads, made from flint which they 
found on the banks of the Thousand Lakes called by 
them Isan-ta-mde, or "Lake of Knives." From this 
circumstance the eastern Sioux were called Isan-ya-ti, 
which has in time been corrupted into modern Santee. 
The Santee include the Wahpetans and the Wazikute; 
the Siouan division from which the Assiniboin separ- 
ated are the Yankton. Editor. 


that of the Indians in general. His appearance 
was greatly injured by the condition of his 
head of hair, and this was the result of an 
extraordinary superstition. 

The Indians universally fix upon a partic- 
ular object as sacred to themselves; as the 
giver of their prosperity, and as their preserver 
from evil. The choice is determined either by 
a dream, or by some strong predilection of 
fancy, and usually falls upon an animal, or 
part of an animal, or something else which is to 
be met with by land or by water: but the Great 
Road had made choice of his hair placing, 
like Sampson, all his safety in this portion of 
his proper substance! His hair was the foun- 
tain of all his happiness; it was his strength and 
his weapon, his spear and his shield. It pre- 
served him in battle, directed him in the chase, 
watched over him in the march, and gave length 
of days to his wives and children. Hair of a 
quality like this was not to be profaned by the 
touch of human hands. I was assured that it 
had never been cut nor combed from his child- 
hood upward; and that when any part of it 
fell from his head he treasured up that part 
with care: meanwhile, it did not escape all 
care, even while growing on the head; but was 
in the special charge of a spirit, who dressed it 
while the owner slept. All this might be: but 
the spirit's style of hair dressing was at least 
peculiar, the hair being suffered to remain 
very much as if it received no dressing at all, 


and matted into ropes which spread them- 
selves in all directions. 

The same evening we were invited to a 
second feast. Everything was nearly as before, 
except that in the morning all the guests were 
men, and now half were women. All the women 
were seated on one side of the floor of the tent, 
and all the men on the other, with a fire placed 
between them. The fire rendering the tent 
warm, the men, one after another, dropped the 
skins which were their garments, and left 
themselves entirely naked. The appearance 
of one of them in particular having led us, who 
were strangers, into an involuntary and ill- 
stifled laugh, the men calmly asked us the 
occasion of our mirth; but one of the women 
pointing to the cause, the individual restored 
the covering of his robe. 

The women are themselves perfectly modest, 
both in dress and demeanor, and those who 
were now present maintained the first rank 
in the village; but custom had rendered the 
scene inoffensive to their eyes. 

Our repast concluded, we departed, taking 
with us our dishes, in which the greater part 
of the ox tongues which had been laid upon 
them remained unconsumed. 

All night in our tent we had a guard of six 
soldiers; and when I awoke, as several times 
I did, I always found them smoking their pipes 
in silence. 

We rose at daybreak, according to the 


custom of the Indians, who say that they follow 
it in order to avoid surprises, this being the 
hour at which the enemy uniformly makes his 

Our waiting-women arrived early, bringing 
wood and water. Washing appeared to me to 
be a ceremony of religion among the Osini- 
poilles; and I never saw anything similar 
among other Indians. 

Leaving our tent, we made a progress 
through the village, which consisted of about 
two hundred tents, each tent containing from 
two to four families. We were attended by 
four soldiers of our guard, but this was insuf- 
ficient for keeping off the women and children, 
who crowded around us with insatiable curi- 
osity. Our march was likewise accompanied 
by a thousand dogs, all howling frightfully. 

From the village I saw for the first time one 
of those herds of horses which the Osinipoilles 
possess in numbers. It was feeding on the 
skirts of the plain. The masters of these herds 
provide them with no fodder; but leave them 
to find food for themselves by removing the 
snow with their feet till they reach the grass, 
which is everywhere on the ground in plenty. 

At ten o'clock we returned to our tent, and 
in a short time the great chief paid us a visit, 
attended by nearly fifty followers of distinc- 
tion. In coming in he gave his hand to each of 
us, and all his attendants followed his example. 
When we were seated one of the officers went 


through the ceremony of the pipe, after which 
the great chief delivered a speech, of which the 
substance was as follows: That he was glad to 
see us; that he had been, some time since, in- 
formed of a fort of the white men's being 
established on the Pasquayah, and that it had 
always been his intention to pay a visit there; 
that we were our own masters, to remain at our 
pleasure in his village, free from molestation, 
and assured of his especial protection; that the 
young men had employed themselves in collect- 
ing meat and furs, for the purpose of purchas- 
ing certain articles, wherewith to decorate 
their wives; that within a few days he proposed 
to move, with his whole village, on this errand; 
that nothing should be omitted to make our 
stay as agreeable as possible; that he had al- 
ready ordered a party of his soldiers to guard 
us, and that if anything should occur to dis- 
please us, his ear was always open to our 

For all these friendly communications we 
offered our thanks. His visit to the fort it had 
been a principal object to invite. 

After the speech the chief presented us with 
twenty beaver skins, and as many wolf. In 
return we gave two pounds of vermilion, and a 
few fathoms of twisted tobacco, assuring him 
that when he should arrive at our habitation 
we would endeavor to repay the benefits which 
we were receiving from him, and at the same 
time cheerfully exchange our merchandise for 



the dried meat and skins of his village. It 
was agreed that he should strike his camp at 
the end of five days, and that we should remain 
in it so long, and accompany it to the fort. 
The chief now departed; and I believe that we 
were reciprocally pleased with each other. 

A short time after he was gone we received 
an invitation to a feast from a subordinate 
chief. Our dishes were again filled with tongues, 
but roasted and not boiled. To furnish us with 
water we saw an ox's paunch employed as a 
kettle. This being hung in the smoke of a 
fire, was filled with snow, and as the snow 
melted more was added till the paunch was full 
of water. The lower orifice of the organ was 
used for drawing off the water, and stopped 
with a plug and string. 

During our whole stay we never had occasion 
for cookery at home; but my kettle was in 
constant use, and for the most part in prepara- 
tion of the feasts at which we were daily 
guests. In our tent we were regularly supplied 
with water, either by the women or by the 

The guards were changed daily. They fre- 
quently beat the people for disobedience of 
orders, and the offenders made no resistance to 
the chastisement. We were informed that 
there was at both extremities of the camp, or 
village, a picket of two men, whose duty it was 
not to allow any person to go beyond the 
bounds. The intention of this was to prevent 


anfe Slttecuturcs 

stragglers from falling a prey to the enemy. 
General orders were issued by the chief 
morning and evening, and published by a crier 
in every part of the camp. 

In the course of the day the great chief in- 
formed us that he proposed hunting the wild ox 
on the following morning, and invited us to be 
of the party. 


Chapter 13 


IN the morning we went to the hunt accord- 
ingly. The chief was followed by about 
forty men and a great number of women. 
We proceeded to a small island on the plain, at 
the distance of five miles from the village. On 
our way we saw large herds of oxen at feed, 
but the hunters forbore to molest them, lest 
they should take the alarm. 

Arrived at the island, the women pitched a 
few tents while the chief led his hunters to its 
southern end where there was a pound, or 
enclosure. The fence was about four feet high, 
and formed of strong stakes of birchwood, 
wattled with smaller branches of the same. 
The day was spent in making repairs, and by 
the evening all was ready for the hunt. 

At daylight several of the more expert 
hunters were sent to decoy the animals into the 
pound. They were dressed in ox skins, with 
the hair and horns. Their faces were covered, 
and their gestures so closely resembled those 
of the animals themselves that had I not been 
in the secret I should have been as much de- 
ceived as the oxen. 

At ten o'clock one of the hunters returned, 
bringing information of the herd. Immediately 


Cratoelg and 

all the dogs were muzzled and, this done, the 
whole crowd of men and women surrounded 
the outside of the pound. The herd, of which 
the extent was so great that I cannot pretend to 
estimate the numbers, was distant half a mile, 
advancing slowly and frequently stopping to 
feed. The part played by the decoyers was 
that of approaching them within hearing and 
then bellowing like themselves. On hearing 
the noise the oxen did not fail to give it atten- 
tion, and whether from curiosity or sympathy, 
advanced to meet those from whom it pro- 
ceeded. These, in the meantime, fell back de- 
liberately toward the pound, always repeating 
the call whenever the oxen stopped. This was 
reiterated till the leaders of the herd had fol- 
lowed the decoyers into the jaws of the pound, 
which, though wide asunder toward the plain, 
terminated Hke a funnel in a small aperture, 
or gateway, and within this was the pound 
itself. The Indians remark that in all herds of 
animals there are chiefs, or leaders, by whom the 
motions of the rest are determined. 

The decoyers now retired within the pound 
and were followed by the oxen. But the former 
retired still farther, withdrawing themselves at 
certain movable parts of the fence, while the 
latter were fallen upon by all the hunters, and 
presently wounded and killed by showers of 
arrows. Amid the uproar which ensued the 
oxen made several attempts to force the fence, 
but the Indians stopped them, and drove them 


back by shaking skins before their eyes. Skins 
were also made use of to stop the entrance, 
being let down by strings as soon as the oxen 
were inside. The slaughter was prolonged till 
the evening, when the hunters returned to their 
tents. Next morning all the tongues were pre- 
sented to the chief, to the number of seventy- 

The women brought the meat to the village 
on sledges drawn by dogs. The lumps on the 
shoulders, and the hearts, as well as the 
tongues were set apart for feasts, while the rest 
was consumed as ordinary food, or dried for 
sale at the fort. 

The time was now passed in dancing and 
festivity in all quarters of the village. On the 
evening of the day after the hunt the chief 
came to our tent, bringing with him about 
twenty men and as many women, who sep- 
arately seated themselves as before; but they 
now brought musical instruments, and soon 
after their arrival began to play. The instru- 
ments consisted principally in a sort of tam- 
bourine, and a gourd filled with stones, which 
several persons accompanied by shaking two 
bones together; and others with bunches of 
deer hoofs, fastened to the end of a stick. 
Another instrument was one that was no more 
than a piece of wood of three feet with notches 
cut on its edge. The performer drew a stick 
backward and forward along the notches, keep- 
ing time. The women sang; and the sweetness 


of their voices exceeded whatever I had heard 

This entertainment -lasted upward of an 
hour; and when it was finished a dance com- 
menced. The men formed themselves into a 
row on one side, and the women on the other, 
and each moved sidewise, first up and then 
down the room. The sound of bells and other 
jingling materials attached to the women's 
dresses enabled them to keep tune. The songs 
and dances were continued alternately till 
near midnight, when all our visitors departed. 

These amusements were given to us com- 
plimentarily by the chief. He took no part 
in the performances himself, but sat smoking 
while they proceeded. 

It had been my wish to go farther on the 
Plains, till I should have reached the mountains, 
at the feet of which, as I have already ob- 
served, they lie; but the chief informed me that 
the latter were still at the distance of many days' 
journey, and that the intervening country was 
a tract destitute of the least appearance of 
wood. In the winter, as he asserted, this tract 
cannot be crossed at all, and in the summer the 
traveler is in great danger of perishing for 
want of water; and the only fuel to be met with 
is the dung of the wild ox. It is intersected by 
a large river, which runs to the sun's rising, 
and which has its sources in the mountains. 

With regard to the country of the Osini- 
poilles he said that it lay between the head of the 

Pasquayah, or Sasca,tchiwaine, and the coun- 
try of the Sioux, or Nadowessies, who in- 
habit the heads of the Missisipi. On the 
west, near the mountains, were the Snake 
Indians and Blackfeet, troublesome neigh- 
bors, by whose hands numbers of his warriors 

The Osinipoilles have many villages com- 
posed of from one to two hundred tents each. 
Few exceed the latter number. They often go 
to the mountains on war parties, and always on 
horseback. When the great chief intends to go 
to war he sends messengers to the several 
villages directing the warriors to meet him at an 
appointed place and time. With regard to 
the latter, it is described by the moon, as the 
beginning, full, or end. In obedience to the 
summons they assemble in greater numbers 
than can be counted, 60 armed with the bow, 
sling, and spear, and with quivers full of ar- 
rows. They have still another weapon, formed 
of a stone of about two pounds weight, which 
is sewed in leather and made fast to a wooden 
handle two feet long. In using it the stone is 
whirled round the handle by a warrior sitting 
on horseback and attacking at full speed. 
Every stroke which takes effect brings down a 
man or horse; or, if used in the chase, an ox. 
To prevent the weapon from slipping out of the 
hand a string, which is tied to the handle, is 
also passed round the wrist of the wearer. The 

60 This was the chief's expression. Author. 


horses of the Osinipoilles were originally pro- 
cured from white people with beards who live 
to the southward; that is, the Spanish colonists 
in New Mexico. 

The animals which I saw alive on the plains 
are oxen, red deer and wolves; but I saw also 
the skins of foxes, bears and a small number of 
panthers, sometimes called tigers and, most 
properly, cougars. 61 

In their religious notions as well as in their 
dress, arms, and other particulars, there is a 
general agreement between the Osinipoilles 
and the Cristinaux. 62 They believe in a creator 
and governor of the world, in a future life, and 
in the spirits, gods, or manitos, whom they 
denominate wakons. Their practices of devo- 
tion consist in the singing of songs, accom- 
panied by the drum, or rattle, or both; and the 
subjects of which are prayers and praises: in 
smoking feasts, or feasts of the pipe, or calumet, 
held in honor of the spirits, to whom the smoke 
of tobacco is supposed to be a most acceptable 
incense: and in other feasts, as well as in fasts 
and in sacrifices. The victims of sacrifice are 
usually dogs, which being killed and hung 
upon poles are left there to decay. 

61 Felis concolor. Author. 

62 Such of the Christinaux as inhabit the plains have 
also their horses, like the Osinipoilles. By language the 
Osinipoilles are allied to the Nadowessies, but they are 
always at war with them. Of the language of the Nado- 
wessies, Carver has given a short vocabulary. Author. 


Many travelers have described the marriages 
of the Indians, but as they have greatly dis- 
agreed in their delineations, I shall venture 
to set down such particulars as have presented 
themselves to my immediate view. Though 
inserted here, they have no exclusive relation 
to the Osinipoilles, all the Indians whom 
I have seen having similar customs on this 

A young man, desirous of marrying a partic- 
ular young woman, visits the lodge in which she 
lives at night and when all the family, or rather 
families, are sleeping on their mats around. 
He comes provided with a match, or splint 
of wood, which he lights among the embers of 
one of the fires which are in the middle of 
the lodge. The only intention of this is the very 
obvious one of finding by the help of the light 
the young woman whom he means to visit, and 
whom, perhaps, he has to awaken. This done, 
he extinguishes the light. In speaking to her 
he whispers, because it is not necessary to 
disturb all the lodge, and because something 
like privacy and secrecy belong to the nature 
of the occasion. If she makes no reply to his 
address, he considers his attempts at acquain- 
tance as repulsed, and in consequence retires. 
If the young woman receives him with favor 
he takes part of her mat. He brings with him 
his own blanket. I consider this practice as 
precisely similar to the bundling of New 
England and other countries; and, to say the 


least, as not more licentious. 63 Children born 
out of wedlock are very rare among the Indians. 

The lover who is permitted to remain re- 
tires before daybreak. When the young woman 
has consented to be his wife he opens the af- 
fair to his own mother, by whom it is com- 
municated to her's; and if the two mothers agree 
they mutually apply to their husbands. 

The father of the young man then invites 
the father of the young woman to a stew, or 
sudatory, prepared for the occasion, and at 
which he communicates the wishes of his son. 
The father of the young woman gives no 
reply till the day following, when in his own 
turn he invites the other to the sweating house. 
If he approves of the match, the terms upon 
which it is to be made are now settled. 

Stews, sudatories, or sweating houses are 
resorted to for cure of sickness, for pleasure, 
or for giving freedom and vigor to the faculties 
of the mind when particular deliberation and 
sagacity are called for. To prepare them for a 
guest is, therefore, to offer every assistance to 
his judgment, and manifest the reverse of a 
disposition to take an unfair advantage of 
him: it is the exact opposite of offering him 
liquor. They are constructed of slender 
branches of trees, united at the top and closely 
covered with skins or blankets. Within, water 

63 On the custom of bundling, see H. R. Stiles, 
Bundling; its Origin, Progress, and Decline in America 
(Albany, 1869). Editor. 



is poured upon a red-hot stone, till the steam 
induces perspiration. 

The terms are either that the young man, as 
was most usual in older times, shall serve the 
father of the young woman for a certain period 
(as for three years) or that he shall redeem 
himself from this obligation by a present. 

If he be to serve, then, at the time fixed, he 
goes, accompanied by his father and mother, 
to the lodge of the young woman's family. 
There he is desired by her mother to sit down 
on the same mat with her. A feast is usually 
served, and the young woman's father delivers 
a suitable speech. The young man is thence- 
forward regarded as one of his wife's family, 
and remains in the lodge accordingly. 

If, on the other hand, he redeems himself by 
a present, then his father and mother go alone 
to the lodge of the young woman's family, 
carrying a present. If the present be accepted, 
they leave it and return home; and shortly 
after the father and mother, accompanied by 
their daughter, go to the lodge of the bride- 
groom's family, where the bride is desired to 
sit down beside her husband. The feast and 
speech are now made by the young man's 
father, and the young woman is received into 
his family. 

Every man marries as many wives as he 

pleases, and as he can maintain; and the usual 

number is from one to five. The oldest in 

most cases is the mistress of the family, and 


Cratorig anfc 

of the other wives among the rest. They 
appear to live in much harmony. Polygamy 
among the Indians conduces little to popula- 
tion. For the number of adults the children 
are always few. 

In naming a child the father officiates, and 
the ceremony is simple. The relations are 
invited to a feast, when he makes a speech, in- 
forming the guests of the name by which the 
child is to be called, and addresses a prayer to 
the Great Spirit, petitioning for the child's 
life and welfare. 

With respect to the burial of the dead, if the 
death happen in the winter season and at a 
distance from the burial ground of the family, 
the body invariably accompanies all the wan- 
derings and journeys of the survivors till the 
spring, and till their arrival at the place of 
interment. In the meantime it is everywhere 
rested on a scaffold, out of the reach of beasts 
of prey. The grave is made of a circular form, 
about five feet deep, and lined with bark of the 
birch or some other tree, or with skins. A seat 
is prepared, and the body is placed in a sitting 
posture, with supporters on either side. If 
the deceased be a man, his weapons of war 
and of the chase are buried with him, as also 
his shoes, and everything for which as a living 
warrior or hunter he would have occasion, and, 
indeed, all his property; and I believe that 
those whose piety alone may not be strong 
enough to ensure to the dead the entire 


inventory of what is supposed to be necessary 
for them, or is their own, are compelled to do 
them justice by another argument, and which 
is the fear of their displeasure. A defrauded or 
neglected ghost, although invisible, can dis- 
perse the game of the plains or forests so that 
the hunter shall hunt in vain; and either in the 
chase or in the war, turn aside the arrow, or 
palsy the arm that draws the bow: in the lodge 
it can throw a child into the fire. 

The body and its accompaniments are cov- 
ered with bark, the bark with logs, and the 
logs with earth. This done, a relation stands 
up and pronounces an eulogium on the de- 
ceased, extolling his virtues and relating his 
exploits. He dwells upon the enemies whom he 
slew, the scalps and prisoners which he took, his 
skill and industry in the chase, and his deport- 
ment as a father, husband, son, brother, 
friend, and member of the community. At 
each assertion which he makes the speaker 
strikes a post which is placed near the grave, 
a gesture of asseveration, and which enforces 
the attention of the audience and assists in 
counting up the points delivered. The eulo- 
gium finished, the post is painted, 64 and on it 
are represented the number of prisoners taken, 
by so many figures of men; and of killed and 
scalped, by figures without heads. To these 
are added his badge, called, in the Algonquin 

64 Hence The Painted Post, the name of a village in 
Pennsylvania. Author. 



tongue, a totem, and which is in the nature of an 
armorial bearing. It informs the passing Indian 
of the family to which the deceased belonged. 
A serious duty at the grave is that of placing 
food for the use of the dead on the journey to 
the land of souls. This care is never neglected, 
even under every disadvantage of molestation. 
In the neighborhood of the traders, dishes of 
cooked venison are very commonly placed on 
the graves of those long buried and as com- 
monly removed by Europeans, even without 
offense to those who placed them there. In 
situations of great want I have more than once 
resorted to them for food. 

The men among the Osinipoilles are well 
made, but their color is much deeper than that 
of the more northern Indians. Some of the 
women are tolerably handsome, considering 
how they live, exposed to the extremes of heat 
and cold and placed in an atmosphere of smoke 
for at least one-half of the year. Their dress is 
of the same materials and of the same form with 
that of the female Cristinaux. The married 
women suffer their hair to grow at random, 
and even hang over their eyes. All the sex is 
fond of garnishing the lower edge of the dress 
with small bells, deer hoofs, pieces of metal, or 
anything capable of making a noise. When 
they move the sounds keep time, and make a 
fantastic harmony. 

The Osinipoilles treat with great cruelty 
their slaves. As an example, one of the 


principal chiefs, whose tent was near that which 
we occupied, had a female slave of about 
twenty years of age. I saw her always on the 
outside of the door of the tent, exposed to 
the severest cold; and having asked the 
reason, I was told that she was a slave. The 
information induced me to speak to her master 
in the hope of procuring some mitigation of the 
hardships she underwent; but he gave me for 
answer that he had taken her on the other side 
of the western mountains; that at the same 
time he had lost a brother and a son in battle; 
and that the enterprise had taken place in 
order to release one of his own nation who had 
been a slave in her's, and who had been used 
with much greater severity than that which 
she experienced. The* reality of the last of 
these facts appeared to me to be impossible. 
The wretched woman fed and slept with the 
dogs, scrambling with them for the bones 
which were thrown out of the tent. When her 
master was within she was never permitted to 
enter; at all seasons the children amused 
themselves with impunity in tormenting her, 
thrusting lighted sticks into her face, and if 
she succeeded in warding off these outrages 
she was violently beaten. I was not successful 
in procuring any diminution of her sufferings, 
but I drew some relief from the idea that their 
duration could not be long. They were too 
heavy to be sustained. 
It is known that some slaves have the good 

anfe Sltsbcnturcs? 

fortune to be adopted into Indian families, 
and are afterward allowed to marry in them, 
-but among the Osinipoilles this seldom hap- 
pens; and even among the Chippewa, where 
a female slave is so adopted and married I 
never knew her to lose the degrading appella- 
tion of wakan, a slave* 5 

65 This word wakan, which in the Algonquin language 
signifies a slave, is not to be confounded with wakan or 
wakon, which in the language of the Nadowessies and 
Osinipoilles signifies a spirit or manito. Author. 


Chapter 14 


ON the nineteenth of February the chief 
apprised us that it was his design to de- 
part the next morning for the fort. In 
consequence we collected our baggage, which, 
however, was but small, consisting in a 
buffalo robe for each person, an axe, and a 
kettle. The last was reluctantly parted with 
by our friends, who had none left to supply its 

At daybreak on the twentieth all was noise 
and confusion in the camp, the women beat- 
ing and loading the dogs, and the dogs howl- 
ing and crying. The tents were speedily struck, 
and .the coverings and poles packed up to be 
drawn by the dogs. 

Soon after sunrise the march began. In the 
van were twenty-five soldiers, who were to 
beat the path so that the dogs might walk. 
They were followed by about twenty men, 
apparently in readiness for contingent services; 
and after these went the women, each driving 
one or two, and some five, loaded dogs. The 
number of these animals actually drawing 
loads exceeded five hundred. After the baggage 
marched the main body of the men, carrying 
only their arms. The rear was guarded by 



about forty soldiers. The line of march cer- 
tainly exceeded three miles in length. 

The morning was clear and calm. Our road 
was a different one from that by which we had 
reached the camp. We passed several herds 
of wild oxen, which betrayed some alarm at 
the noise of the dogs and women resounding 
on every side. 

Our march was pursued till sunset, when we 
reached a small wood, the first that we had seen 
all day. The great chief desired Mr. Patter- 
son and myself to lodge in his own tent, and we 
accordingly became part of his family. We 
saw that his entire and numerous household 
was composed of relations. The chief, after 
smoking his pipe, determined the line of march 
for the next day; and his dispositions in this 
regard were immediately published through the 

At daybreak our tents were again struck, and 
we proceeded on our march in the same order 
as the day before. Today (to follow the phrase- 
ology of the plains) we had once land in sight, 
consisting in two small islands, lying at a great 
distance from our road. On our march the 
chief informed us that he proposed reaching 
another camp of his people that evening, and 
would take it with him to the fort. Accordingly, 
at about four o'clock in the afternoon we dis- 
covered a wood and presently afterward saw 
smoke rising from it. At sunset we encamped 
near the wood, where we found a hundred 

tents. We were not long arrived before the 
chiefs of this second camp paid a visit to the 
Great Road, who informed them of his inten- 
tion to visit the fort and recommended to 
them to join his march. They consented, 
and orders were given as usual by a public 

The night afforded me but little sleep, so 
great was the disturbance from noises of all 
kinds; feasting and dancing; the women chas- 
tising the dogs; the dogs of the two camps 
meeting and maintaining against each other 
the whole night long a universal war. 

In the morning the two camps united in one 
line of march, which was now so far extended 
that those in the rear could not descry the 
front. At noon we passed a small wood, where 
we saw horses feeding. The Indians informed 
me that they belonged to one of their camps, 
or villages; and that it was their uniform cus- 
tom to leave their horses in the beginning of 
the winter at the first wood where they were 
when the snow fell, at which the horses always 
remain through the season, and where their 
masters are sure to find them in the spring. 
The horses never go out of sight of the island 
assigned them, winter or summer, for fear of 
wanting its shelter in a storm. 

We encamped this evening among some 
small brushwood. Our fire went out accident- 
ally in the night, and I was kept awake by the 
cold and by the noise of the dogs. 

In the course of the next day, the twenty- 
third of the month, we passed several coppices, 
and saw that the face of the country was 
changing and that we had arrived on the mar- 
gin of the Plains. On the twenty-seventh we 
encamped on a large wood, where the Indians 
resolved on leaving the old women and children 
till their return from the fort, from which we 
were now distant only one day's march. On 
the twenty-eighth they halted for the whole 
day; but we engaged two of them to lead us 
forward, and thus arrived in the evening at the 
fort, where we found all well. A large band of 
Cristinaux had brought skins from the Beaver 

Next day the Indians advanced their camp 
to within half a mile of the fort, but left 
thirty tents behind them in the wood. They 
continued with us three days, selling their 
skins and provisions for trinkets. 

It is not in this manner that the northern 
Indians dispose of the harvest of the chase. 
With them the principal purchases are of 
necessaries; but the Osinipoilles are less de- 
pendent on our merchandise. The wild ox 
alone supplies them with everything which 
they are accustomed to want. The hide of this 
animal, when dressed, furnishes soft clothing 
for the women; and dressed with the hair on, it 
clothes the men. The flesh feeds them; the 
sinews afford them bowstrings; and even the 
paunch, as we have seen, provides them with 


that important utensil, the kettle. The amaz- 
ing numbers of these animals prevent all fear 
of want, a fear which is incessantly present to 
the Indians qf the North. 

On the fourth morning the Osinipoilles de- 
parted. The Great Road expressed himself 
much satisfied with his reception, and he was 
well deserving of a good one; for in no situation 
could strangers have been treated more hos- 
pitably than we were treated in his camp. The 
best of everything it contained was given us. 

The Osinipoilles at this period had had 
no acquaintance with any foreign nation 
sufficient to affect their ancient and pristine 
habits. Like the other Indians, they were 
cruel to their enemies, but as far as the ex- 
perience of myself and other Europeans 
authorizes me to speak, they were a harmless 
people, with a large share of simplicity of 
manners and plain dealing. They lived in fear 
of the Cristinaux, by whom they were not only 
frequently imposed upon, but pillaged when 
the latter met their bands in smaller numbers 
than their own. 

As to the Cristinaux, they are a shrewd race 
of men, and can cheat, lie, and sometimes 
steal; yet even the Cristinaux are not so much 
addicted to stealing as is reported of the 
Indians of the South Sea; their stealing is 
pilfering; and they seldom pilfer anything but 
rum, a commodity which tempts them beyond 
the power of resistance. 



I remained at Fort des Prairies till the 
twenty-second of March, on which day I 
commenced my return to Beaver Lake. 

Fort des Prairies, as already intimated, is 
built on the margin of the Pasquayah, or Sas- 
catchiwaine, which river is here two hundred 
yards across and flows at the depth of thirty 
feet below the level of its banks. The fort has 
an area of about an acre, which is enclosed by 
a good stockade, though formed only of poplar, 
or aspen wood, 66 such as the country affords. 
It has two gates, which are carefully shut every 
evening, and has usually from fifty to eighty 
men for its defense. 

Four different interests were struggling for 
the Indian trade of the Sascatchiwaine; but 
fortunately they had this year agreed to join 
their stock, and when the season was over, to 
divide the skins and meat. This arrangement 
was beneficial to the merchants, but not di- 
rectly so to the Indians, who, having no other 
place to resort to nearer than Hudson's Bay or 
Cumberland House, paid greater prices than if 
a competition had subsisted. A competition, 
on the other hand, afflicts the Indians with a 
variety of evils in a different form. 

The following were the prices of goods at 
Fort des Prairies: 

A gun ................. 20 beaver skins 

66 This fort, or one which occupied a contiguous site, 
was formerly known by the name of Fort aux Trembles. 


A stroud blanket 10 beaver skins 

A white blanket 8 beaver skins 

An axe of one pound weight 3 beaver skins 
Hah a pint of gunpowder i beaver skin 

Ten balls i beaver skin, 

but the principal profits accrued from the sale 
of knives, beads, flints, steels, awls, and other 
small articles, 

Tobacco, when sold, fetched one beaver skin 
per foot of Spencer's twist; and rum, not very 
strong, two beaver skins per bottle: but a 
great proportion of these commodities was dis- 
posed of in presents. 67 

The quantity of furs brought into the fort 
was very great. From twenty to thirty Indians 
arrived daily, laden with packs of beaver skins. 

67 The tobacco supplied by the traders to the Indians 
was commonly twisted in the form of a rope, and the 
quantity of a given portion was indicated by its 
length; the rum, before being sold to the natives was 
diluted with water, the degree of dilution depending 
upon such factors as the rapacity of the trader, the 
eagerness of the native to procure the rum, and the 
extent of his sophistication with respect to the use of 
this beverage. Editor. 




ATAHE days being now lengthened and the 
snow capable of bearing the foot, we 
traveled swiftly; and the weather, though 
cold, was very fine. 

On the fifth of April we arrived without 
accident at Cumberland House. On our way 
we saw nothing living except wolves, who 
followed us in great numbers, and against 
whom we were obliged to use the precaution of 
maintaining large fires at our encampments. 

On the seventh we left Cumberland House, 
and on the ninth, in the morning, reached our 
fort on Beaver Lake, where I had the pleasure 
of finding my friends well. 

In my absence the men had supported them- 
selves by fishing; and they were all in health 
with the exception of one, who was hurt at the 
Grand Portage by a canoe's falling upon him. 

On the twelfth Mr. Thomas Frobisher with 
six men was despatched to the River Churchill, 
where he was to prepare a fort, and inform 
such Indians as he might see on their way to 
Hudson's Bay of the approaching arrival of 
his partners. 

The ice was still in the same state as in 
January; but as the season advanced the 


quantity of fish diminished, insomuch that 
Mr. Joseph Frobisher and myself were obliged 
to fish incessantly; and often, notwithstanding 
every exertion, the men went supperless to 
bed. In a situation like this the Canadians are 
the best men in the world; they rarely murmur 
at their lot, and their obedience is yielded 

We continued fishing till the fifth of May, 
when we saw swans flying toward the Maligne. 
From this circumstance and from our knowl- 
edge of the rapidity of the current of that 
river, we supposed it was free from ice. In 
consequence I proceeded thither, and arriving 
in the course of a day's journey, found it 
covered with swans, geese, and other water- 
fowl, with which I soon loaded my sledge, and 
then returned to the fort. 

The passage toward the Churchill being 
thus far open, we left our fort on the twenty- 
first of May, forty in number, and with no 
greater stock of provision than a single supper. 
At our place of encampment we set our nets 
and caught more fish than we had need of, and 
the same food was plenty with us all the way. 
The fish were pickerel and whitefish. 

On the twenty-second we crossed two car- 
rying-places of half a mile each, through a level 
country, with marshes on the border of the 
river. The sun now appeared above the hori- 
zon at half -past eight 68 o 'clock in the morning, 

68 Apparently a misprint for half -past three Editor. 

Crafcefe' anfc 

and there was twilight all the time that he was 
below it. The men had but few hours for rest, 
for after encamping a supper was not only to 
be cooked, but caught, and it was therefore 
late before they went to sleep. Mr. Frobisher 
and myself rose at three; and the men were 
stirring still earlier, in order to take up the 
nets, so that we might eat our breakfast and 
be on our journey before sunrise. 

On the sixth of June we arrived at a large 
lake, which, to our disappointment, was en- 
tirely frozen over, and at the same time the 
ice was too weak to be walked upon. We were 
now fearful of detention for several days, but 
had the consolation to find our situation well 
supplied with fish. On the following night 
there was a fall of snow, which lay on the ground 
to the depth of a foot. The wind was from the 
northeast. The Indians who were of our party 
hunted, and killed several elks, or moose deer. 69 
At length the wind changed into the southern 
quarter, on which we had rain, and the snow 
melted. On the tenth, with some difficulty 
we crossed the lake, which is twenty miles 
in length, through a channel opened in the ice. 
On the fifteenth, after passing several carrying- 
places, we reached the River Churchill, Mis- 
sinibi, or Missinipi, where we found Mr. 
Thomas Frobisher and his men, who were in 

69 This was, of course, the moose; Henry uses the 
term "red deer" to designate the American elk. 


good health and had built a house for our re- 

The whole country from Beaver Lake to the 
Missinipi is low near the water, with mountains 
in the distance. The uplands have a growth of 
small pine trees, and the valleys, of birch and 
spruce. The river is called the Churchill 
River, from Fort Churchill in Hudson 'Bay, the 
most northerly of the company's factories or 
trading-houses, and which is seated at its 
mouth. By Mr. Joseph Frobisher it was 
named English River. At the spot where our 
house was built the river is five miles wide and 
very deep. We were estimated by the Indians 
to be distant . three hundred miles from the 
sea. Cumberland House was to the south- 
ward of us, distant four hundred miles. We 
had the light of the sun in sufficient quantity 
for all purposes during the whole twenty-four 
hours. The redness of his rays reached far 
above the horizon. 

We were in expectation of a particular band 
of Indians, and as few others made their ap- 
pearance we resolved on ascending the river 
to meet them, and even, in failure of that 
event, to go as far westward as Lake Ara- 
buthcow, 70 distant according to the Indians 
four hundred and fifty miles. 

With these views we embarked on the six- 
teenth with six Canadians and also one Indian 

70 Called also Athapuscow, and Athabasca. Author. 
Modern Lake Athabasca. Editor. 



woman, in the capacity of a guide, in which 
service Mr. Frobisher had previously employed 

As we advanced we found the river fre- 
quently widening into lakes thirty miles long 
and so broad, as well as so crowded with is- 
lands, that we were unable to distinguish the 
mainland on either side. Above them we found 
a strait, in which the channel was shallow, 
rocky, and broken, with the attendant features 
of rapids and carrying-places. The country 
was mountainous and thinly wooded, and the 
banks of the river were continued rocks. 
Higher up, lofty mountains discovered them- 
selves, destitute even of moss, and it was only 
at intervals that we saw afar off a few stunted 
pine trees. 

On the fifth day we reached the Rapide 
du Serpent, which is supposed to be three 
hundred miles from our point of departure. 
We found whitefish so numerous in all the 
rapids that shoals of many thousands were 
visible with their backs above the water. The 
men supplied themselves by killing them with 
their paddles. The water is clear and trans- 

The Rapide du Serpent is about three miles 
long and very swift. Above this we reached 
another rapid, over the carrying-place of 
which we carried our canoe. At this place 
vegetation began to reappear, and the country 
became level and of an agreeable aspect. 


Nothing human had hitherto discovered itself, 
but we had seen several bears and two cari- 
boux on the sides of the mountains, without 
being able to kill anything. 

The course of the river was here from south 
to north. We continued our voyage till the 
twenty-fourth, when, a large opening being 
before us, we saw a number of canoes filled 
with Indians on their voyage down the stream. 71 
We soon met each other in the most friendly 

We made presents of tobacco to the chiefs, 
and were by them requested to put to shore 
that we might encamp together and improve 
our acquaintance. In a short time we were 
visited by the chiefs, who brought us beaver 
skins, in return for which we gave a second 
present; and we now proposed to them to 
return with them to our fort, where we were 
provided with large quantities of such goods 
as they wanted. They received our proposal 
with satisfaction. 

On the twenty-fifth of June we embarked 
with all the Indians in our company, and 
continued our voyage day and night, stopping 
only to boil our kettle. We reached our house 
on the first of July. 

The Indians comprised two bands, or parties, 
each bearing the name of its chief, of whom 
one was caUed the Marten, and the other the 

71 The traders had reached Lake He a la Crosse on 
the upper Churchill River. Editor. 


Crabcis anti &Dtocnturr 

Rapid. They had joined for mutual defense 
against the Cristinaux, of whom they were in 
continual dread. They were not at war with 
that nation, but subject to be pillaged by its 

While the lodges of the Indians were setting 
up the chiefs paid us a visit, at which they 
received a large present of merchandise, and 
agreed to our request that we should be per- 
mitted to purchase the furs of their bands. 

They inquired whether or not we had any 
rum; and, being answered in the affirmative, 
they observed that several of their young men 
had never tasted that liquor, and that if it 
was too strong it would affect their heads. 
Our rum was in consequence submitted to 
their judgment; and after tasting it several 
times they pronounced it to be too strong, and 
requested that we would order a part of the 
spirit to evaporate. We complied by adding 
more water to what had received a large pro- 
portion of that element before; and this being 
done, the chiefs signified their approbation. 

We remarked that no other Indian approached 
our house while the chiefs were in it. The 
chiefs observed to us that their young men, 
while sober, would not be guilty of any ir- 
regularity, but that lest when in liquor they 
should be troublesome, they had ordered a 
certain number not to drink at all, but main- 
tain a constant guard. We found their orders 
punctually obeyed, and not a man attempted 

to enter our house during all the night. I say 
all the night because it was in the course of 
this night, the next day, and the night follow- 
ing, that our traffic was pursued and finished. 
The Indians delivered their skins at a small 
window made for that purpose, asking at the 
same time for the different things they wished 
to purchase, and of which the prices had been 
previously settled with the chiefs. Of these 
some were higher than those quoted from Fort 
des Prairies. 

On the third morning this little fair was 
closed, and on making up our packs we found 
that we had purchased twelve thousand beaver 
skins, besides large numbers of otter and 

Our customers were from Lake Arabuthcow, 
of which and the surrounding country they 
were the proprietors, and at which they had 
wintered. They informed us that there was at 
the farther end of that lake a river, called 
Peace River, 72 which descended from the Stony 
or Rocky Mountains, and from which moun- 
tains the distance to the salt lake, meaning the 
Pacific Ocean, was not great; that the lake 
emptied itself by a river which ran to the north- 

72 Henry was on the eve of making a great discovery, 
for the Peace River was first explored by Alexander 
Mackenzie in 1792. It takes its name, according to 
Mackenzie from Peace Point, a place where a treaty was 
concluded between the Christinaux and the Beaver 
Indians. Editor. 



ward, which they called Kiratchinini Sibi* 7 
or Slave River, 74 and which flows into another 
lake, called by the same name; but whether 
this lake was or was not the sea, or whether it 
emptied itself or not into the sea they were 
unable to say. They were at war with the 
Indians who live at the bottom of the river 
where the water is salt. They also made war 
on the people beyond the mountains toward 
the Pacific Ocean, to which their warriors had 
frequently been near enough to see it. Though 
we conversed with these people in the Cree, or 
Cristinaux language, which is the usual me- 
dium of communication, they were Chepe- 
wyans, or Rocky Mountain Indians. 

They were in possession of several ultra- 
montane prisoners, two of whom we purchased; 
one, a woman of twenty-five years of age, 
and the other a boy of twelve. They had both 
been recently taken, and were unable to speak 
the language of their masters. They conversed 
with each other in a language exceedingly 
agreeable to the ear, composed of short words, 
and spoken with a quick utterance. We gave 
for each a gun. 

The dress of the Chepewyans nearly re- 
sembled that of the Cristinaux, except that it 
was composed of beaver and marten skins 
instead of those of the ox and elk. We found 

73 Or Yatchinini Sipi. Author. 

74 These are the rivers which have since been ex- 
plored by Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Author. 


these people orderly and unoffending, and they 
appeared to consider the whites as creatures of 
a superior order, to whom everything is known. 

The women were dirty, and very inatten- 
tive to their whole persons, the head excepted, 
which they painted with red ocher, in defect 
of vermilion. Both themselves and their hus- 
bands for them were forward in seeking a loose 
intercourse with the Europeans. The for- 
mer appeared vain of solicitation, and having 
first obtained the consent of their husbands, 
afterward communicated to them their suc- 
cess. The men, who no doubt thought with 
the Cristinaux on this subject, 75 were the first 
to speak in behalf of their wives; and were even 
in the practice of carrying them to Hudson 
Bay, a journey of many hundred miles, on no 
other errand. 

Having been fortunate enough to administer 
medical relief to one of these Indians during 
their stay, I came to be considered as a phy- 
sician, and found that this was a character 
held in high veneration. Their solicitude and 
credulity as to drugs and nostrums had ex- 
posed them to gross deceptions on the part 
of the agents of the Hudson's Bay Company. 
One of the chiefs informed me that he had 
been at the Bay the year before, and there pur- 
chased a quantity of medicines, which he would 
allow me to inspect. Accordingly, he brought 

75 See page 249. Author. Page 241 of this volume. 


anti Sl&fcentureg 

a bag containing numerous small papers, in 
which I found lumps of white sugar, grains of 
coffee, pepper, allspice, cloves, tea, nutmegs, 
ginger and other things of this kind, sold as 
specifics against evil spirits, and against the 
dangers of battle; as giving power over enemies, 
and particularly the white bear, 76 of which the 
Indians in these latitudes are much afraid: 
others were infallible against barrenness in 
women; against difficult labors; and against 
a variety of other afflictions. In a second 
parcel I found small prints; the identical ones 
which in England are commonly sold in sheets 
to children, but each of which was here trans- 
formed into a talisman, for the cure of some 
evil, or obtention of some delight: No. i. "A 
sailor kissing his mistress, on his return from 
sea"; this, worn about the person of a gallant, 
attracted, though concealed, the affections of 
the sex! No. 2. "A soldier in Arms"; this 
poured a sentiment of valor into the possessor, 
and gave him the strength of a giant! 

76 Apparently the grizzly bear. Although Theodore 
Roosevelt has rather made light of the danger of hunting 
the grizzly, to meet him with a modern high-power 
rifle is a different matter than it was to meet him with 
the inferior weapons possessed by the natives a century 
or more ago. Moreover, the grizzly himself has learned 
something by his hundred years of contact with the 
white man, and is, apparently, a far less pugnacious 
animal than he was in former times. Lewis and Clark, 
dauntless seekers of adventure as they were, found the 
grizzly a foe to be dreaded; "I must confess," records 
Lewis, "that I ido not like the gentlemen, and had 


By means of these commodities many cus- 
tomers were secured to the company; and even 
those Indians who shortened their voyage by 
dealing with us sent forward one canoe, laden 
with beaver skins, to purchase articles of this 
kind at Cumberland House. I did not venture 
to dispute their value. 

This part of our commercial adventure 
completed, Mr. Frobisher and myself left the 
remainder of our merchandise in the care of 
Mr. Thomas Frobisher, who was to proceed 
with them to Lake Arabuthcow, and on the 
fourth of July, set out on our return to the 
Grand Portage. 

In recrossing Beaver Lake the wind obliged 
us to put into a bay which I had not visited 
before. Taking my gun I went into the woods 
in search of game; but I had not advanced 
more than half a mile when I found the country 
almost inaccessible by reason of masses of 
rock which were scattered in all directions: 
some were as large as houses, and lay as if they 
had been first thrown into the air and then 
suffered to fall into their present posture. By 
a circuitous route I at last ascended the moun- 
tain, from one side of which they had fallen; 
the whole body was fractured, and separated 
by large chasms. In some places parts of the 
mountain of half an acre in surface were raised 
above the general level. It was a scene for the 

rather fight two Indians than one bear." Editor. 


warfare of the Titans, or for that of Milton's 

The river, which, when we first arrived at 
Cumberland House, had run with a swift cur- 
rent into the Sascatchiwaine, now ran in a 
contrary direction, toward the lake. This was 
owing to the rise of water in the Sascatchi- 
waine, from which same cause all the lowlands 
were at this time overflowed. 

Our twilight nights continued till we were 
to the southward of Lake Winipegon. The 
weather was so favorable that we crossed that 
lake in six days, though in going it took us 

On an island in- the Lake of the Woods we 
saw several Indians, toward whom we made in 
hopes to purchase provisions, of which we were 
much in want; and whom we found full of a 
story that some strange nation had entered 
Montreal, taken Quebec, killed all the Eng- 
lish, and would certainly be at the Grand 
Portage before we arrived triere. 77 

On my remarking to Mr. Frobisher that I 
suspected the Bastonnais (Bostonians, or 
English colonists) had been doing some mis- 
chief in Canada, the Indians directly exclaimed, 
"Yes, that is the name! Bastonnais." They 

77 General Montgomery captured Montreal Novem- 
ber 12, 1775, and was killed while vainly assaulting 
Quebec on the last day of the year. In May, 1776, the 
American force raised the siege and retreated to New 
England. Editor. 



were lately from the Grand Portage, and ap- 
peared seriously apprehensive that the Bas- 
tonnais were coming into the Northwest. 78 

At the Forks of the River a la Pluie there 
were a large number of Indians under a friendly 
chief, with which latter I had had a previous 
acquaintance. On nfy visiting him he told me 
that there was bad news; and then repeated the 
story which we had heard on the Lake of the 
Woods, adding that some of his young men were 
evil inclined, and that he wished us immediately 
to depart. We were not deaf to the admonition, 
of the grounds of which we stayed long enough 
to be convinced. We were roughly importuned 
for rum; and one of the Indians, after we had 
embarked, fetched his gun and fired at us 
twice, but without effect. 

No further accident attended our voyage 
to the Grand Portage, from which place we 
pursued the route to Montreal, where we 
arrived on the fifteenth of October. We found 
the province delivered from the irruption of 
the colonists, and protected by the forces of 
General Burgoyne. 

78 Bastonnais (Bostonnais, Bostonians) is the name 
by which the Canadians describe all the inhabitants of 
the English colonies, now the United States; and in the 
Northwest the English traders commonly use the 
French language. Author. 


ABITIBI Lake, route by, 228. 

Abitibi River, route by, 228. 

Albany, Henry procures goods at, 4, 12. 

Allouez, Claude Jean, mission station at Chequamegon 
Bay, 184. 

Amherst, Gen. Sir Jeffrey, expedition against Montreal, 
xii,3; captures Montreal, 80. 

Amikoue (Amicway, Amicwac) Indians, on Manitou- 
lin Island, 36. 

Amisk Lake, see Beaver Lake. 

Anderson, Capt. Thomas G., reports Indian legend, 

Andre, Louis, at Keweenaw Bay, 212. 

Anse a la Peche, see Oak Bay. 

Ashland (Wis.), on Chequamegon Bay, 184. 

Aspen trees, food for beaver, 126. 

Assiniboin Indians, treatment of slaves, 266, 295-97; 
Henry joins, 267; hospitality, 274-83, 302; cus- 
tom of weeping, 276-77; buffalo hunt described, 
284-86; boundaries, 287-88; methods of warfare, 
288; procure horses from Spaniards, 289; relations 
with Cristinaux, 302. 

Athabasca (Arabuthcow, Athapuscow) Lake, des- 
tination of Henry, 308. 

Au Sable River, Henry winters on, 123-46; identified, 

BAGGATIWAY, Indian ball game, played at Fort Michili- 
mackinac, 78, 86-87. 

Bain, James, edits Henry's narrative, xxi. 

Balfour, Capt. Henry, commands English troops in 
Northwest, 52. 

Barges, Colonel Bradstreet builds, 176. 


Baxter, Alexander, on mineral9gical tour, 210; partner 
in mining company, 217; terminates business of 
company, 226. 

Baxter, , partner in mining company, 226. 

Bear, hunts, 138-39, 193; Indian superstitions con- 
cerning, 139-40; feast, 140; habits, 141; in Nani- 
bojou legend, 209; meat purchased, 256; on plains 
of Saskatchewan, 289; on Churchill River, 310; 
Grizzly, as fighter, 315-16. 

Beaujeau de Villemonde, evacuates Michilimackinac, 
52, 89. 

Beaver, dams, 30; price of skins at Michilimackinac, 
56; habits, 125-28; methods of hunting, 125, 127- 
28; as food, 128; number caught, 132, 196-97; 
lodge, 137; as medium of exchange, 183-84; at 
Michilimackinac, 202; on Saskatchewan River, 
248; meat purchased, 256; skins as presents, 281; 
purchased, 312. 

Beaver Islands, historical sketch, 94; destination of 
English captives, 94-97. 

Beaver Lake, Henry winters on, 253-56, 305-306; 
traverses, 316. 

Beaver River, see River aux Castors. 

Bedford- Jones, Henry, attacks Henry's narrative, xvii- 
xx; theory concerning Wawatam, 155-56. 

Big Sable River, Henry winters in vicinity, 1 24. 

Birch trees, food for Beaver, 126; on Churchill River, 

Blackfoot Indians, country explored, 252; neighbors 
of Assiniboin, 288. 

Bodoine, Jean Baptiste, guides Henry to Montreal, 

Bostonnais (Bastonnais, Bostonians), sobriquet of 
American colonists, 317-18. 

Bostwick, Henry, visits Michilimackinac, 13; in 
massacre, 91, 95, 105; partner in mining company, 
217, 226. 

Bourbon, Fort, on Cedar Lake, 248. 

Bourbon, Lake de, see Cedar Lake. 

Bourbon River, see Saskatchewan River. 


Boutchitaouy Bay, arm of Lake Huron, 37; route by, 
68; Henry at, 115, 151. 

Braddock's defeat, 52, 80. 

Bradstreet, Col. John, career, 174; expedition to 
Detroit, 174-79. 

British Museum, specimens presented, 222. 

Buffalo, skins as tents, 249; as clothing, 258; numbers, 
265, 273; tongues eaten, 273; uses subserved 
among Assiniboin, 282, 301-302; hunt described, 

Buffalo's Head Island, in Lake Winnipeg, 244. 

Burgoyne, Gen. John, in Revolutionary War, 318. 

Burial customs, 108, 144-45, 293-95. 

CADOTTE, Jean Baptiste Jr., fur trader, 6p. 

Cadotte, Jean Baptiste, Sr., interpreter at Sault Ste. 
Marie, 60; influence over Indians, 151, 156; pro- 
tects Henry, 157-58; partner of Henry, 184; goes 
to Fort des Prairies, 253. 

Cadotte, Madame, rescues Henry, 154-56. 

Cadotte, Michel, fur trader, 60. 

Cahokia (111.), Pontiac slain at, 179. 

Campion, Etienne, enters employ of Henry, 12-13; 
Henry entrusts business to, 39; brings news, 51. 

Canadians, relations with Indians, 34; hostility 
toward English, 40; monopoly of fur trade, 54; 
onlookers at massacre, 80; prisoners entrusted to, 
91-92; in Captain Howard's expedition, 179-80; 
contemplate cannibalism, 212-13. 

Cannibalism, prisoners eaten, 71, 98, 104-105; among 
Indians, 199-201; proposed, 212-13. 

Canoes, of traders described, 15-16; method of making, 
172; of Northwest described, 230-31; disposition 
in winter, 254. 

Caribou, on island of Yellow Sands, 219-21 ; on Church- 
ill River, 310. 

Caribou Island, see Island of Yellow Sands. 

Carver, Capt. Jonathan, account of rites of medicine 
men, 166; death of Pontiac, 178-79; legends of 
Island of Yellow, Sands, 216-17; mines of Lake 
Superior. 224-25; French raid, 228- 


Cass, Gov. Lewis, holds peace council, 189-90. 

Castor, Isles du, see Beaver Islands. 

Castors, River aux, trade route by, 254. 

Catfish, in Lake Winnipeg, 244. 

Cat Lake, see Lake du Bonnet. 

Cave of the Bones, at Michilimackinac, 109-112. 

Cedar trees, on Cedar Lake, 247. 

Cedres, Rapides des, boats wrecked, xiii, 4. 

Champlain, Samuel de, account of rites of medicine 

men, 166. 
Chatique (Pelican), Indian chief, plunders traders, 


Chats, Lake des, described, 24. 
Chaudiere Francaise, Portage, La, on French River, 

3i-3 2 - 

Chines, Portage des, described, 23. 

Chepeweyan Indians, intercourse with Henry, 310-16; 
women, 314; medical ideas, 314-16. 

Chequamegon (Chagouemig, Chagouemigon) Bay, 
Henry winters at, 184-97; historical sketch, 184- 
85; Chippewa of, 189-90. 

Chippewa Indians, capture Henry Bostwick, 13; 
village on Michilimackinac Island, 37-38; council 
with Henry, 41-46; of Lake Superior, Henry plans 
trading expedition to, 47; village at Sault Ste. 
Marie, 61; language spoken by Cadottes, 62; 
Henry learns, 62; massacre English, 78-82; in- 
fluence of J. B. Cadotte, Sr., over, 151; enmity of 
Iroquois, 159; Great Turtle as guardian spirit, 
160-66; make peace, 180; tradition concerning 
defeat of Iroquois, 185-86; of Chequamegon Bay, 
189-99; warfare with Sioux, 189-90, 195-96; 
Wood Indians derive language from, 206; of Lake 
Sagunac, plunder traders, 232-33; destroyed by 
Sioux, 232; of Rainy River, exact tribute, 233-34; 
Pillager band destroyed, 236. 

Churchill (Missinibi, Missinipi) River, Henry and 
party visit, 305-16; origin of name, 308. 

Claies, Lake aux, see Lake Simcoe. 


Cocking, Matthew, explorations of, 252; hospitality to 
traders, 258. 

Copper, on Ontonagon River, 186-87, 197; on north 
shore of Lake Superior, 203, 205; on Nanibojou 
Island, 222; attempts to mine, 218-24. 

Copper Rock, sketch of 197. 

Corne, Fort a la, location, 265. 

Corne, M. de la, builds fort, 265. 

Cougars, see panthers. 

Court Oreilles Indians, sobriquet for Ottawa, 192. 

Court Oreilles, Lac, refuge of Ottawa, 191-92. 

Cristinaux (Christinaux, Kristinaux, Killistinoes, Cree) 
Indians, language of Wood Indians derived from, 
206; of Lake Winnipeg described, 239-43; resem- 
blances to Assiniboin, 289; relations with, 302; 
visit Fort des Prairies, 301; thievery among, 302; 
language as trade medium, 313. 

Cruickshank, , partner in mining company, 226. 

Cuchoise, John, befriends Henry, 93-94. 

Cumberland House, Henry visits, 258, 305. 

Cumberland Lake, see Sturgeon Lake. 

Cumberland Station, see Pas Mission. 

DAMS, beaver, 30. 

Dancing, among Assiniboin, 287. 

Dauphin, Fort, Peter Pond goes to, 253. 

Davers, Sir Robert, English traveler, visits Sault Ste. 
Marie, 70; killed, 71. 

Deluge, myth of, 209. 

Detour, Point du, in Lake Huron, 36; Henry passes, 
59; encamps at, 66-67. 

Detroit, siege of, 174; expedition of Bradstreet to, 
174-79; Peter Pond at, 243-44. 

Deux Montagnes, Lake des, Henry reaches, 19. 

Devil's Hole, massacre, 175. 

Dogs, sacrificed, 107, 125, 144, 170, 289; as beasts of 
burden, 269, 298; numbers among Assiniboin. 280. 

Dreams, of Indian women, 147; of Wawatam's wife, 


Ducharme, Jean Marie, fur trader, 72. 
Ducharme, Laurent, fur trader, 72. 


Duels, by Peter Pond, 244. 

Duluth, Daniel Greysolon, on Chequamegon Bay, 185. 

EDWARD AUGUSTUS, Fort, at Green Bay, 106. 

Elk, see red deer. 

English, Indian hostility toward, 34; prisoners slain, 
104-105; Indians fear vengeance, 147-48. 

English River, see Churchill River. 

Erie, see Presqu'isle. 

Erie, Fort, Bradstreet's army at, 176. 

Etherington, Capt. George, commandant at Michili- 
mackinac 52, 68; discredits reports of Indian dis- 
affection, 72-73; in massacre of Fort Michili- 
mackinac, 91-92, 95. 

FALLS, of the Rideau, described, 21; of La Grande 
Chaudire, 21-22. 

Famine, at Sault Ste. Marie, 198-202; overtakes 
. Henry's party, 211-13; threatened, 261-63. 

Farley, Jacques Phillipe, interpreter at Michilimacki- 
nac, 41; relations with English traders, 50-51. 

Feasts, on prisoners, 71, 98, 104-105; of maize, 130-31; 
of bear meat, 140, 194-95; to Great Spirit, 144; 
Indians propose to eat Henry, 150; at Missisaki 
River, 167; of buffalo tongues, 273; among Assin- 
iboin, 275-79, 282. 

Finlay, James, Jr., fur trader, 260. 

Finlay, James, Sr., in Northwest, 260. 

Finlay River, name, 260. 

Fish, in Lake Nipissing, 30; food supply at Sault Ste. 
Marie, 63, 198; methods of taking, 65-66; at 
Chequamegon Bay, 191; in Saskatchewan River, 
247; in Beaver Lake, 254-55, 305-306. See also 
the several varieties. 

Fishing Cove, see Oak Bay. 

Flies, pest of, 29, 62. 

Fond du Lac, Henry sends goods to, 188; warriors from, 

Fort Nelson River, outlet of Lake Winnipeg, 247. 

Foxes, on plains of Saskatchewan, 289. 

Fox Point, see Wagoshense. 

French River (River des Francais), Henry descends, 32. 


Frobisher, Benjamin, memorial on Northwest trade, 

233; career, 245. 
Frobisher, Joseph, memorial on Northwest trade, 237; 

career, 245; companion of Henry, 257-58, 316. 
Frobisher, Thomas, career, 245; starts for Churchill 

River, 305; names Churchill River, 308; takes 

charge of merchandise, 316. 

Furs, as medium of exchange, 55-56. See also fur trade. 
Fur trade, Henry enters upon, xiii, 11-12; canoes and 

brigades described, 15-17; Michilimackinac as 

center, 41; food of voyageurs, 54; of Lake Superior 

given to Henry, 183; disorder threatened, 192; 

returns from, 196-97, 210; at Grand Portage, 

229-30; Peter Pond's career, 243-44; Northwest 

Company organized, 244; rivalry in, 303; prices 

of goods, 303-309; deception practiced, 314-16. 
GAGE, Gen. Thomas, grants Henry permission to go to 

Michilimackinac, 13; condemns conduct of Col. 

Bradstreet, 178. 

Geese, on Island of Yellow Sands, 220. 
Gens de Terre Indians, see Wood Indians. 
Gladwin, Gen. Henry, career, 174. 
Gloucester, Duke of, partner in mining company, 226. 
Goddard, James S., trader, at Michilimackinac, 48. 
Gold, search for on Michipicoten Island, 215; on Island 

of Yellow Sands, 219-20. 
Grand Calumet, Portage du, described, 25-26. 
Grand Calumet River, channels of, 25. 
Grand Portage, Henry plans trading expedition to, 47; 

as fur trade center, 229-30; passage of, 230. 
Grand Rapide, on Saskatchewan River, 246. 
Grand Sable, Le, Indian chief, slays prisoners, 104. 
Grand Sauteur, see Minavavana. 
Grand Traverse Bay, Henry crosses, 147-48. 
Grande Chaudiere, La, falls described, 21-22; portage 

described, 22-23. 

Grande Faucille, Portage de la, on French River, 32. 
Grant, James, in Northwest fur trade, 267. 
Grant County (Wis.), named, 267. 
Grant River, named, 267. ,. 


Great Hare, see Nanibojou. 

Great Road, Indian chief, sends messengers, 272; 
entertains Henry, 275-78; personal appearance, 
277-78; speech, 281; visits Fort des Prairies, 

Great Spirit, sacrifices to, 107, 125, 144; deprives 
beaver of speech, 128; feasts to, 144, 193-95; 
Wawatam commends Henry to, 155; invoked by 
Chippewa, 161-66; residence on islands of Lake 
Superior, 36, 216-17. 

Great Turtle, guardian spirit of Chippewa, 160; 
ceremony of invoking, 161-66. 

Green Bay, English send garrison to, 52; saved by 
Ottawa Indians, 106. 

Grondines, Point aux, in Lake Huron, 33; Henry 
visits, 167-69. 

Groseilliers, Medard Chouart, Sieur de, winters at 
Chequamegon Bay, 184. 

HAMILTON, Gov. Henry, report upon pay due Canadian 
militia, 179-80. 

Hares, hunted, 55; use by Wood Indians, 62. 

Hauteur de Terre, see Land's Height. 

Hawks, on Island of Yellow Sands, 220. 

Hearne, Samuel, pleads for life of prisoner, 83; explora- 
tions of, 251-52. 

Hedge hog, see Porcupine. 

Henry, Alexander, sketch of career, xii-xv; joins army 
of Gen. Amherst, xii, 3; enters fur trade, xiii; 
loses merchandise, xiii, 4; estimate of narrative, 
xv-xxi; editions of, xxi-xxii; winters at Fort 
Levis, 4; visits Albany, 4, 12; learns use of snow 
shoes, 5; attacked by Indians, 6-7; journey to 
Michilimackinac, 15-39, 66-68, 70-71, 114, 147-49, 
179-80, 201-202; to Sault Ste. Marie, 59, 68-69, 
151-56; winters at Sault Ste. Marie, 60-66, 180, 198- 
202; learns Chippewa language, 62, 76; in massacre 
of Fort Michilimackinac, 78-87; captivity, 88-99; 
rescued by Wawatam, 99-103; disguised as Indian, 
113-14; goes to Boutchjtaouy Bay, 115; winters 
on Au Sable River, 123-46; resigned to savage 

life, 129; lost, 132-37; bear hunt, 138-39, 193; 
proceeds of winter's hunt, 149; life threatened, 150, 
157; disguised as Canadian, 156; journey to Fort 
Niagara, 159-60, 166-73; commands Indian bat- 
talion, 175-77; goes to Oak Bay, 198-201; winters 
at Michipicoten, 203-17; explores Michipicoten 
Island, 215; Island of Yellow Sands, 219-21; 
mining operations, 219-26; journey to Lake Winni- 
peg, 227-42; from Lake Winnipeg to Beaver Lake, 
243-53; winters on Beaver Lake, 253-56, 305-306; 
journey to Fort des Prairies, 257-67; tour of plains, 
267-87; 298-301; return to Beaver Lake, 303-305; 
visits Churchill River, 305-16; returns to Mont- 
real, 316-18. 

Henry, Alexander, the Younger, xv. 

Henry, William, xv. 

Highlanders, at Cumberland House, 241-2. 

Hole-in-the-Day, Chippewa chief, 190. 

Holmes, William, tours plains of Saskatchewan, 267. 

Horses, Among Assiniboin, 280, 300. 

Howard, Capt. , leads expedition to recover 

Fort Michilimackinac, 179-80. 

Hudson's Bay Company, posts raided, 228; station 
of, 251; rivalry with North- West Company, 252; 
builds Fort a la Corne, 265 ; traders deceive Indians, 

Huron Indians, village on Detroit River, 180. 

Huron Lake, islands described, 35-36; Henry traverses, 
33-38; 166-71, 180. 

ILE A LA CROSSE Lake, Henry reaches, 310. 

Indians, drink liquor, 6-7, 109-111; entertain Henry, 8; 
hostile to English, 34,72-77; slavery among, 81, 
266, 295-97; sacrifices, 107, 125, 144, 163, 170-171, 
205, 289; burial customs, 108, 144-45, 293-95; 
cannibalism, 71, 98, 104-105, 199-201; medical 
practices, 113-22; 161-66; diseases, 116-17; super- 
stitions, 139-40, 151, 161-66, ,168-71; belief con- 
cerning future life, 145-46; ownership of land, 
144; battalion formed, 175-77; cruelty to prisoners, 


266, 302; use of tobacco, 273; guards among, 274, 

280, 282-83, 311-12; marriage customs, 290-93. 
Iroquois Indians, influence of Sir William Johnson 

over, 159; hostility to Chippewa, 159; tradition 

concerning defeat by Chippewa, 185-86; Ottawa 

seek asylum from, 192; cruelty to prisoners, 266. 
Iroquois Point, name, 185-86; Henry camps on, 222. 
Iron River, in Ontonagon county, 187. 
JAMET, Ensign John, commandant at Sault Ste. 

Marie, 62; journey to Michilimackinac, 66-68; 

slain, 79, 92. 
Jesuits, missionary at Michilimackinac, 40; mission 

at L'Arbre Croche, 47 ; of St. Ignatius, 1 23. 
Johnson, Sir William, kindness to prisoners, 57; sends 

embassy to western Indians, 158-59; career, 158- 

59; friendship prophesied, 164-65; kindness to 

Henry, 173; partner in mining enterprise, 226. 
KAMINISTIQUIA, trading house at, 229. 
Keweenaw Bay, Father Mnard at, 212. 
Kinzie, John, in Fort Dearborn massacre, 83. 
Kichi Manito, see Great Spirit. 
LACHINE, head of fur-trade navigation, 17. 
La Cloche Island, Henry visits, 33-34, 167; name, 33; 

inhabitants attend peace council, 167. 
La Crosse, ball game, see Baggatiway. 
Lake of the Woods, Henry traverses, 234-37. 
Land, Indian ownership of, 144. 
Land's Height, described, 231-32. 
Langlade, Charles, career, 80-81; shelters Henry at 

Michilimackinac, 80-87; inhumanity, 93-94. 
L'Arbre Croche, Ottawa village, 47-48; Indians take 

prisoners from Chippewa, 96-98; Henry visits, 

124, 148. 
La Ronde, Louis Denis, sieur de, at Chequamegon 

Bay, 185. 

Lead, on Nanibojou Island, 222. 
Leduc, M. - , gives information on fur trade, u. 
Legends, of Nanibojou, 203-205; of Island of Yellow 

Sands, 215-18; of carrying place of the Lost child, 



Les Cedres, Henry visits, n. 

Leslie, Lieut. William, commandant at Michilimack- 

inac, 52; in massacre, 91-92, 95. 
Le Sueur, Pierre Charles, at Chequamegon Bay, 185. 
LeVis, Fort, captured, 3; named William Augustus, 4. 

Levy, , trader, 109. 

Lewis, Meriwether, opinion of grizzly bear, 315-16. 
Longue Sault, Henry runs rapids, 8-10; ascends, 


Lost Child, carrying place of, legend, 238. 
Ludington (Mich.) , Henry winters in vicinity, 1 24. 
MACKENZIE, Alexander, explores Peace River, 312. 
Madelaine Island, 191. 
Maize, cultivated at L'Arbre Croche, 47-48, 54, 124; 

as diet for voyageurs, 54; price at Michilimackinac, 

55; feast on, 130-31; purchased, 184; as food, 211; 

cultivated on Lake Superior, 225. 
Maligne River, name, 253; Henry camps on, 258. 
Mamance Point, minerals found at, 203. 
Manitoulin Island, name, 36. 
Manitous, see Great Spirit. 

Maple sugar, manufacture, 69-70, 143-44, 193, 209. 
Marquette, Father Jacques, place of death, 124; 

on Chequamegon Bay, 184; founds mission of 

St. Ignace, 184. 

Marriage, customs among Indians, 289-93. 
Marten, skins purchased, 312. 
Marten, The, Indian chief, 310. 
Maskegon Indians, desire trade with English, 27-28. 
Matawan River, Henry ascends, 28-29. 
Matchedash Bay, Henry reaches, 171. 
Matchedash Indians, see Missisaki Indians. 
Matchekewis (Mutchikiwish) , Chippewa chief, seeks 

life of Henry, 157; career, 157. 
Maurepas, He de, see Michipicoten Island. 
Mayzhuckegeshig, Chippewa chief , 189. 
Medicine, deceptions practiced, 314-16. 
Medicine men, practices, 113-22; 161-66. 
Me"nard, Father Rene", at Keweenaw Bay, 212. 

Menominee Indians, escort English garrison to L'Arbre 
Croche, 106; attitude in Pontiac's War, 107. 

Merchandise, prices at Michilimackinac, 149; to 
Indians, 187; at Fort des Prairies, 303-304. 

Michigan, Lake, Henry plans trading expedition to, 

47; opening of navigation, 58. 
chilimad " 

Michilimackinac, Fort, M. Leduc at, n; Henry 
decides to visit, xiii, 11-12; route from Montreal, 
15; location at different periods, 37; described, 
40-41; as fur-trade center, 41; Beaujeau evacuates, 
52;. British reach, 52; disaffection of Indians, 
72-77; garrison massacred, 78-82; English expe- 
dition sent to recover, 179; peace with Chippewa 
and Ottawa concluded, 180; Henry returns to, 

Michilimackinac Island, name, 37, 109; Chippewa 
village on, 37-38; warriors hold council with Henry, 
41-46; Henry's sojourn on, 107-112. 

Michipicoten, Henry winters at, 203-17. 

Michipicoten Island, Henry explores, 215-17. 

Milford (Conn.), Peter Pond at, 243-44. 

Minavavana, Chippewa chief, existence denied, xix; 
speech, 42-45; surrenders Henry, 102-103; advises 
Henry, 113. 

Minnesota River, see St. Pierre River. 

Miscoutinsaki Rapid, Heavy ascends, 59. 

Missions, see Jesuits. 

Missisaki Indians, name, 35; at Lake Simcoe, 171; 
attend peace council, 171, 175; in Indian battalion, 


Missisaki River, name, 35; Henry reaches, 167. 
Mississagi Point, near Fort Niagara, 173. 
Money, furs employed as, 55-56; lack of, at Fort 

Michilimackinac, 183-84. 
Montague, Portage de la, described, 25. 
Montgomery, Gen. Richard, death, 317. 
Montreal, captured, 480; Henry arrives at, 318. 
Moose, on Churchill River journey, 307. 
Moose River, route by, 228; Henry crosses, 268. 
Mormons, kingdom on Beaver Islands, 94. 


Mosquitoes, on Matawan River, 29; at Sault Ste. 

Marie, 62; on Pinawa River, 238. 
Music, of Assiniboin, 286. 
NADOWESSIE Indians, see Sioux. 
Nanibojou, legends, 203-205. 
Nanibojou Island, Henry camps on, 211; minerals 

found, 222. 

Nannabojou, Indian chief, 204. 
Nequaquon Lake, see Lake Sagunac. 
Niagara, Fort, peace council at, 158-59; Henry 

reaches, 173. 

Nipigon River, in French period, 229. , . 
Nipissing Indians, meeting with Henry, 31. 
Nipissing Lake, Henry traverses, 30-32. 
Nordberg, John, career, 222; mineralogical tour, 222. 
Northwest, definition, 230. 
North West Company, origin, 244; activities of 

Frobishers, 245; of Charles Patterson, 245; rivalry 

with Hudson's Bay Company, 252. 
Notepseakan River, Henry winters in vicinity, 124. 
OAK Bay, Henry at, 198-201. 
Oak Point, in Lake Winnipeg, 244. 
Ochibbouy Indians, see Chippewa. 
Okinochumaki, Ottawa chief, kindness of, 124. 
Ontonagon River, Henry reaches, 186; explores for 

copper, 197; mining operations, 223-24. 
Opimittish Iniwac Indians, see Wood Indians. 
Osinipoil Indians, see Assiniboin. 
Otossalon (Tessalon, Thessalon, des Tessalons) River, 

Ottawa Indians, carry Henry Bostwick to Montreal, 

13; of L'Arbre Croche, council with traders, 47-50; 

propose attack on English troops, 52; take prisoners 

from Chippewa, 96-98; raise maize, 124; village 

at Lake St. Claire, 180; seek refuge at Lac Court 

Oreilles, 191-92. 
Ottawa River, route by, 15, 228; Henry ascends, 19- 


Otter, skins purchased, 312. 
Otter's Head, described, 227. 


Outaouais, Lake des, see Lac Court Oreilles. 

Outardes, Isles aux, in Lake Huron, 37; Henry so- 
journs at, 151-55. 

Outardes. Portage aux, 231. 

PAINTED Post, name, 294. 

Pani, woman conceals Henry, 81-83; name, 81. See 
also Slaves. 

Panthers, shot, 147; on plains of Saskatchewan, 289. 

Partridges, at Michilimackinac, 55. 

Paskogac, Fort, location, 249. 

Pas Mission, location, 249. 

Pasquayah River, see Saskatchewan. 

Pasquayah, village, Henry at, 249-51. 

Pasquia River, tributary of Saskatchewan, 249. 

Patterson, Charles, career, 245; on tour of plains, 267. 

Patterson's Point, location, 245. 

Pays Plat, described, 228-29. 

Peace River, information concerning, 312-13. 

Pelican, The, see Chatique. 

Pelicans, on Lake of the Woods, 236-37; on Lake 
Winnipeg, 244. 

Pentwater River, identified with Au Sable, 124. 

Perdrix, Portage du, on Pigeon River, 231. 

Petite Faucille, Pourtage de la, on French River, 32. 

Pic Island, Henry visits, 228. 

Pickawillany, captured by Langlade, 80. 

Pickerel, in Beaver Lake, 255; on Churchill River 
journey, 306. 

Pigeon (Groseilles, duTourtre) River, Henry traverses, 

Pijitic River, Henry encamps at, 227; route by, 228. 

Pike River, pipestone quarry near, 245. 

Pillager Indians, name, 236-37. 

Pinawa River, as trade route, 237-38. 

Pine trees, on Saskatchewan River, 247; on Churchill 
River, 301, 308. 

Pins, Point aux, shipyard at, 218; smelting furnace, 222. 

Pins, Portage des, on French River, 32. 

Pipe stone, quarry on Lake Winnipeg, 245. 

Piwatic River, see Iron River 


Plains, of Saskatchewan, extent, 257, 265-66; inhab- 
itants, 266; Henry visits, 257-301; use of nautical 

terms on, 299. 

Pluie, Lake a la, see Rainy Lake. 
Polygamy, among Cristinaux, 241 ; among Indians in 

general, 292-93. 
Pond, Peter, describes vows paid at St. Anne's, 18; 

career, 243-44; goes to Fort Dauphin, 253. 
Pontiac, leads Indians against English, xiii, 13; besieges 

Detroit, 174; makes peace, 178; death, 178-79. 
Poplar trees, food for beaver, 126; on Saskatchewan 

River, 246, 268; at Fort des Prairies, 303. 
Porcupine, true name, 141. 
Potatoes, cultivated at Michilimackinac, 217; at 

Michipicoten, 217. 

Prairie des Francais, La, on French River, 33. 
Prairie du Chien, peace council, 189-90. 
Prairies, Fort des, destination of J. B. Cadotte, Sr., 

253; location, 265; Great Road visits, 298-302; 

description, 303. 

Presqu'isle, Brads treet's army at, 177; council at, 178. 
Puants, Bay des, see Green Bay. 
QUEBEC, surrender of, xii, 3; Charles Langlade at 

siege of, 80; Montgomery assaults, 317. 
RACCOONS, method of hunting, 128-29; numbers 

caught, 132. 
Radisson, Pierre Esprit, sieur d', winters at Chequame- 

gon Bay, 189. 

Rainy Lake, Henry traverses, 253. 
Rainy River, Henry traverses, 233-34, 318; scarcity of 

game, 234. 

Rapid, The, Churchill River chief, 311. 
Rat, Portage du, Henry passes, 236-37. 
Rattlesnakes, superstitions concerning, 168-71. 
Red deer, habitat, 126; hunted, 135, 142; season for 

hunting, 141; carcass found, 264; on plains of 

Saskatchewan, 289. 

Revolutionary War, news of in Northwest, 317-18. 
Rideau Falls, described, 21. 


Robinson, Alexander, Potawatomi chief, account of 

Matchekewis, 157. 

Roche Capitaine, Portage du, described, 28. 
Roche Rouge, pipestone quarry, 245. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, on grizzly bear hunting, 315 
Ross, John, Peter Pond kills, 244. 
Royale, He, Carver's report concerning, 216. 
Rum, Indian carousal over, 6-7; "English milk," 45; 

drinking by Lake of the Woods Indians, 235-36; 

demanded by Chatique, 251; price, 304; diluted for 

Indian trade, 304, 311. 
SABLE Point, location, 123. 
Sacrifices, of dogs, 107, 125, 144, 170, 289; to Great 

Turtle, 163; to rattlesnake, 170-71; of Henry 

proposed, 171; to Nanibojou, 205; among Assini- 

boin, 289. 

Saginaw Bay, Indians visit Michilimackinac, 150. 
Sagunac (Saginaga) Lake, Indians of, 232-33. 
St. Anne, vows offered at Church, 18. 
St. Anne Rapids, 17-18. 
St. Charles Fort, location, 236. 
St. Claire Lake, settlements near, 180; Indian villages, 


St. Francais Lake, Henry reaches, 10. 
St. Ignace Cape, near St. Martin Island, 123. 
St. Ignace Mission, established by Marquette, 184. 
St. Ignace Point, Henry visits, 151. 
St. James, capital of Mormon kingdom, 94. 
St. Joseph, Fort, raided, 12; site, 53; Ottawa save 

garrison, 106. 
St. Lawrence River, Gen. Amherst descends, 3-4; 

Henry navigates rapids, 8-10; character, 17. 
St. Louis, Pontiac buried at, 179. 
St. Martin Island, Henry sojourns on, 133. 
St. Pierre River, trading expedition planned, 47. 
St. Sulpice, mission, 19. 
Sand bars, at river mouths, 125. 
Sandusky Bay, Bradstreet's army at, 177-78. 
Santee Indians, origin of name, 277. 


Saskatchewan (Bourbon, Pasquayah) River, Henry 
aspends, 246-53; 259-67; fur trade rivalry, 303. 

Sauk Indians, play ball with Chippewa, 78, 86-87. 

Sault du Recolet, Portage du, on French River, 32-33. 

Sault Ste. Marie, journey from Michilimackinac to, 59; 
fort, 59-60; fishing, 60-61, 63; Chippewa village at, 
61; fort burned, 64; garrison withdraws to Michili- 
mackinac, 64; Indians friendly .to English, 150-51; 
Henry winters at, 180; embarks for, 184; barge built, 
217; sloop, 218. 

Schlosser, Fort, at Niagara portage, 175-76. 

Schoolcraft, Henry R., search for Wawatam, xix, 

Serpent, Rapide du, on Churchill River, 309. 

Seven Years' War, xii. 

Silver, on Iron River, 187; on Nanibojou Island, 222. 

Simcoe Lake, Henry traverses, 171-72; Indians visit 
Fort Niagara, 1 71 , 1 75 ; enrolled in battalion, 1 75-77. 

Sioux (Nadowessie) Indians, Henry plans expedition 
to, 47; warfare with Chippewa, 189-90, 195-96, 232, 
236; relation to Assiniboin, 266, 289. 

Slaves, Indian, 81; among Assiniboin, 266, 295-97. 

Slave River (Kiratchinini Sibi), information concern- 
ing, 313. 

Sledges, Indian, described, 257. 

Snakes, on Island of Yellow Sands, 216, 218-20. See 
also rattlesnakes. 

Snake Indians, neighbors of Assiniboin, 288. 

Snowshoe evil, described, 68; cure, 68. 

Solomon, Ezekiel, at Michilimackinac, 48; in massacre, 

93. 95> 105- 

South Chicago, battle near, 13. 

Spaniards, supply horses to Assiniboin, 289. 

Spruce trees, on Saskatchewan River, 246; on Church- 
ill, 308. 

Strang, James Jesse, founds Mormon kingdom, 94. 

Stag, see red deer. 

Sturgeon, in Ontonagon River, 186; in Lake Winnipeg, 
246; in Saskatchewan River, 247; in Cedar Lake, 


248; in Beaver Lake, 255; as diet, at Cumberland 

House, 258. 
Sturgeon Lake, Cumberland House on, 251; described, 

253; Henry traverses, 258. 
Sturgeon Weir River, see Maligne River. 
Sudatpries, see sweating houses. 
Superior (Wis.), see Fond du Lac. 
Superior, Lake, mines of, 210; French schooner on, 

216; company formed to work mines, 217; barge 

built, 217; sloop, 218, 225-26; mining operations, 

Superstitions, concerning fear, 139-40; dreams, 151; 

Great Turtle, 161-66; rattlesnakes, 168-71; rob- 
bing the Great Spirit, 194-95; of Great Road about 

hair, 278. 

Swans, at Beaver Lake, 306. 
Sweating houses, among Indians, 291. 
TETES de Boule Indians, see Wood Indians. 
Tete de la Loutre, see Otter's Head. 
Thunder Island, name, 230. 
Tobacco, Henry uses, 149-50; offered to Great Turtle, 

163, 165; to rattlesnake, 168-70; use by Indians, 

273; in Indian trade, 304. 
Tonnerre, He au, see Thunder Island. 
Toronto (Toranto), carrying-place, 172. 
Totems, function of, 295. 

Townshend, , partner in mining company, 226. 

Tracy, , trader, at Fort Michilimackinac, 73; in 

massacre, 79, 92, 105. 

Trembles, Fort aux, on Saskatchewan River, 303. 
Tripe de Roche, substitute for food, 212-13. 
Trout, at Michilimackinac, 55; spearing described, 

65-66; at Chequamegon Bay, 191; catch relieves 

famine, 202; in Beaver Lake, 255. 
Tutchef, Sir Samuel, partner in mining company, 226. 
VARENNES, Pierre Gaultier de, establishes Fort 

Bourbon, 248. 

Vase, Portages a la, on Matawan River, 29-30. 
Vegetables, cultivated at Michipicoten, 217. 


Venison, method of drying, 132; quantity secured, 
132, 142. 

Voyageurs, conditions of employment, 16, 231; cus~ 
toms, 18. 

WAAC, see tripe de roche. 

Wadin, ^killed in duel, 244. 

Wagoshense Point, near Michilimackinac, 96. 

Warren brothers, on Chequamegon Bay, 185. 

Wawatam, existence denied, xix, 155-56; friendship 
for Henry, 73-76, 99-103; attends feast, 104-105; 
conceals Henry, 109-111; on St. Martin's Island, 
123; at Au Sable River, 123-25; gives feast, 130-31; 
kills stag, 132; superstitions, 140; journey to Michi- 
limackinac, 147-49; to Sault Ste. Marie, 151; fare- 
well to Henry, 154-55; Schoolcraft seeks, 155. 

Weeping, among Assiniboin, 276-77. 

Wenniway, Chippewa chief, captor of Henry, 88-91, 

Whitefish, at Michilimackinac, 56-57; at Sault Ste. 
Marie, 60-61; at Chequamegon Bay 191; in 
Beaver Lake, 255; at Churchill River, 306, 309. 

White River, see Pijitic River. 

Wild rice, as food, 232, 235; gift, 243. 

William, Fort, erected, 229-30. 

Willow trees, on Saskatchewan River, 248. 

Winnipeg Lake, Henry traverses, 239-46, 317; outlet, 

. 24 . 7 * 
Winnipeg River, Henry traverses, 237-38. 

Women, labors performed by, 132, 143, 269-71, 298; 

dreams, 147; neatness of, at Chequamegon Bay, 

190-91; of Cristinaux tribe described, 239-41; 

modesty of Assiniboin, 279; beauty, 295; of Chepe- 

wyan tribe, 314. 

Wolfe, Gen. James, captures Quebec, xii, 3. 
Wolves, bones as feast, 263; skins as presents, 281; 

on Saskatchewan River, 305. 
Wood (Gens de Terre, Opimittish Ininiwac), Indians 

near Sault Ste. Marie described, 61-62; country and 

habits, 205-207; on Pijitic River, 228. 


YELLOW Sands, Island of, legends concerning, 215-18; 

Henry explores, 219-21. 
York, identified with Toronto, 172. 
York, Fort, on Hudson Bay, 247. 



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